Who should the Knicks bring back to rotation in the wake of RJ Barrett’s injury?

Cam Reddish, Evan Fournier, New York Knicks

The New York Knicks will reportedly end the year without RJ Barrett, who sustained a lacerated finger Tuesday night when Dallas Mavericks star Luka Doncic tried to reach in.

Despite Barrett not returning after only playing 1:36, Tom Thibodeau refused to field in displaced rotation players Evan Fournier and Cam Reddish and, instead, stuck with an eight-man rotation. The Knicks eventually faded in overtime, squandering a nine-point lead with 33.9 seconds left in regulation.

Four players played above 45 minutes in their fourth straight loss.

Thibodeau defended his decision.

“When you get to overtime, there’s going to be having minutes. That’s the reality of it. And then, you know, you’re matched up with who they have on the floor as well. I was more concerned with how we were matching up with them. We try to match up a certain way. Then, I thought we were playing well. We didn’t close out the last 30 seconds of the game.”

Tom Thibodeau via postgame via NBA.com

Fournier, who logged in his 22nd straight DNP-CD, already knew what was coming.

“Not surprised, especially because the guys on the floor were playing well. Cam and I actually talked on the bench. Like, we already knew, so not surprised.”

Evan Fournier via NY Post

Fournier began the season as the starting shooting guard. But he was replaced by Reddish, then eventually Quentin Grimes when he fully recovered from a foot injury that kept him from battling for starting minutes in the training camp.

Reddish, who had his moments as a starter, was dropped from the rotation altogether when Thibodeau after the Knicks’ first loss –121-100 in New York — to the Mavericks this season.

The former lottery pick has since been heavily linked to the Los Angeles Lakers in a potential swap before the February 9 trade deadline.

“I’m gonna be 1,000 percent honest with you. You [in the media] probably know more about that than me. I have no idea. None. I’m just trying to stay ready, continue to work on my game and obviously just trust in God, man.

I don’t have any control over s–t, so I can’t do too much thinking, or I’ll think myself into misery. You know how that goes. That’s just human nature. I just try to stay in the gym and work out and go from there.”

Cam Reddish via NY Post

The Knicks reportedly want to recoup a first-round draft pick for Reddish, who is set to enter restricted free agency. But it’s tougher to swing for that deal with Reddish’s continued benching.

Fournier’s current contract is more challenging to move before the trade deadline. He is still owed $37.8 million guaranteed money until next season. Fournier revealed he hasn’t discussed with management about his future.

“No, not at all. It’s been what, six weeks now that I’m not playing. I’ve been preaching patience. It’s starting to be a little long. But maybe there’s going to be an opportunity. I don’t know. We’ll see.”

Evan Fournier via NY Post

Perhaps the Knicks are keeping them from injuries until the trade deadline.

But as injuries and losses mount, Thibodeau and the Knicks might have no choice but to use at least one of them until Barrett or Obi Toppin (leg) return.

Follow this writer on Twitter: @alderalmo

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