The New York Knicks are actively scouring the trade market for ways to improve their team, as they recently acquired Derrick Rose, sending point guard Dennis Smith Jr. to the Detroit Pistons. Smith Jr. was “all smiles” after being treated by the Knicks, and now they can finally move on from what was a massive mistake several years ago.
Rose has already shown his quality on the court, scoring 14 points over 20 minutes in his first game this season. The Knicks are currently 11-15, four games from .500. The most recent loss of the Miami Heat was disappointing, as they had a slight advantage going into the fourth quarter and blew a late lead, coming up short for a second consecutive night.
Once New York can close out tight games, it will make them a far more exciting team. One way they can improve their performance is to strike a trade for a premium asset. However, they would have to part ways with some of their current talent.
Three tradeable players for the New York Knicks:
1.) Elfrid Payton
One player that might draw some attention is Elfrid Payton, who is averaging 12.1 points per game and 3.7 assists. He was far more resourceful with the ball in his hands last year, averaging 7.2 assists per game, but his aggressive defense is why Tom Thibodeau continues to utilize him as a starter. There’s likely a team out there looking for a solid defender and reserve point guard to utilize in a rotational aspect. The Knicks are preparing to thrust Immanuel Quickley into the starting role at some point, which makes Payton expendable, especially since he’s on a one year contract.
2.) Frank Ntilikina
There’s always a need for a quality defender on the bench, but the Knicks have completely disregarded Frank Ntilikina over 26 games. He’s only made four appearances, and at 22 years old, a team out there will likely see the value in his fantastic defense.
There is still potential left offensively, but they have tried every which way to improve his scoring abilities. He has never averaged more than 6.3 points per game, and Thibodeau is looking for players who can put points on the board as well as dominate on defense.
I see the value that Ntilikina has, but at the end of the day, if Thibodeau isn’t going to utilize him, it is best to cash in on his value.
3.) Austin Rivers
The Knicks landed Austin Rivers on a three-year, $9.975 million contract this past off-season. While he started the year nursing an injury, he has provided a spark with his solid dribbling and off-ball movement.
He’s averaging just 8.1 points per game, which has value as a rotational player off the bench. At some point, he seems like he could be an adequate starter, but inconsistencies have dismantled his case. He is shooting a bit better from the field and three-point line, but nothing to be overzealous about.
Rivers is a player who could draw some attention on the market, and if the Knicks could package a few players together to land a more valuable asset, it might be worthwhile to explore a trade.