Knicks Mock Trade: Landing Rudy Gobert in a blockbuster deal

New York Knicks, Julius Randle

The New York Knicks desperately need to shake things up this off-season if they want to put together a competent team that’s capable of reaching the postseason. This year, they witnessed significant limitations on both sides of the ball, especially with Julius Randle regressing.

Injuries provided a bit of inconsistency, and the Knicks’ youth players didn’t get as much playing time as they probably should have given Tom Thibodeau’s strategy, but adding an elite defensive player in Rudy Gobert fits the mold perfectly for the identity Thibs is building.

After ranking as one of the best defensive teams in basketball back in 2020, the Knicks’ efficiency plummeted to 11th. Gobert would be a huge plus, and opening up a bit of salary relief would be beneficial, especially if the front office has Jalen Brunson from the Dallas Mavericks in mind.

Nonetheless, let’s take a look at a mock trade scenario that could present adequate value.

Knicks mock trade with the Utah Jazz:

Knicks give up:

-Evan Fournier

-Derrick Rose

-Cam Reddish

-2023 1st rounder

-2023 1st rounder (Dallas)

NBA Analysis originally came up with this specific mock trade, which seems to be reasonably fair given the Knicks can’t afford to add any more youngsters to the equation, and Gobert is a match made in heaven for Tom Thibodeau.

This season, Fournier averaged 14.1 points and shot 39% from deep. Fournier set the single-season record for the Knicks in three-pointers made, but that doesn’t make him a good defender.

Fournier proved to be a massive liability on the defensive side but was a solid scorer for the majority of the season. The Knicks might be looking for more consistency on defense, but unloading his contract would be the critical move here.

Moving on from Cam Reddish seems to be probable at this point since he only averaged 6.1 points over 14.3 minutes of play. Trading for Cam made little sense at the time since injecting a small forward into a team that didn’t utilize that position was odd. He made little to no impact, so we should expect the Knicks to include him in potential trade offers.

Trading Derrick Rose would hurt every Knick fan’s heart, but at 33 years old and battling a few injuries last season, it might be time too to inject more young talent into the position. Brunson would obviously fit the bill, and since Rose averaged just 12 points last year and played in 26 games, the team needs a bit more reliability at the point guard position.

Giving up at least one first-round pick from this year is something the Knicks have to do. Adding more young talent to the roster is normally a benefit, but they are struggling to get their current players enough time to develop as it is.

Jazz gives up:

-Rudy Gobert

Acquiring Gobert immediately injected arguably the best defensive player in basketball into the Knicks’ lineup. This would be a dream come true for Thibodeau, but it would all but guarantee the departure of Mitchell Robinson.

Gobert averaged 15.6 points, 2.1 blocks, 0.7 steals, and 14.7 total rebounds, a career-high this season. Gobert is only 29 years old, meaning he’s in the prime of his game and ready to make a significant impact on the biggest stage — The Mecca.

However, he comes with a sizable contract, five years, $205 million. Rudy is projected to earn $38 million next year,  but he’s well worth the money at his age. His contract will consistently increase until 2024, when it caps out at $43.8 million before a 2025 player option kicks in.

Taking on a contract of this size is something the Knicks need to think long and hard about, but his value is unparalleled as a defensive player. If New York’s young players can rise to the occasion and offer great play at a cost-controlled price, this team could be ready to compete within the next two years.

Knicks receive great news on Quentin Grimes after 3rd straight win

quentin grimes, knicks

The New York Knicks have strung together three consecutive wins in recent days, overcoming the Los Angeles Clippers, Sacramento Kings, and Dallas Mavericks, scoring over 107 points per game.

In the team’s most recent victory over Dallas, Julius Randle scored 26 points, and RJ Barrett contributed 18. The entire team dominated, holding the Mavericks starters to just 56 total points, 31 of which came from Luca Doncic.

Tom Thibodeau’s squad has struggled considerably this season to remain consistent, currently, 10 games below .500 and 3.5 games out of the 3rd seed in the Eastern Conference, held by the Atlanta Falcons.

However, with the Knicks stringing together a few wins, more good news is on the way, as rookie shooting guard Quentin Grimes is preparing to make a return in the coming days.

“It was my first injury that I’ve been sidelined for more than a week,’’ Grimes said, via Marc Berman of the NY Post. “So it was crazy when it happened, but it wasn’t as bad as everybody thought it was. I think I was playing a little too hard, and I just like dislocated a little bit and it went right back in and I rolled over.’’

Luckily, Grimes wasn’t injured too badly, simply dislocated his knee, which required a few weeks of rest.

“They told me what it looked like, so I didn’t want to see it,’’ Grimes said. “I felt it. It was on the side of my knee. Then it came back in when I rolled over. So luckily it wasn’t too bad.’’

On the season, Grimes is averaging 3.6 points, 1.9 rebounds, 1.0 assists, and is shooting nearly 40% from three point range. While his scoring production has been second-tier, his defensive contributions are extremely important to the Knicks’ success. The team allowed Elfird Payton and Reggie Bullock to walk in the off-season, declining their defensive quality tremendously.

Grimes currently hosts a 105 defensive rating, one of the better numbers on the team. His aggressive, on-ball style puts enormous pressure on opposing offensive players, which is exactly what Thibodeau prefers.

Given the Knicks can continue their streak of success and get Grimes back, who’s to say they can’t make a run at the final spot in the play-in tournament?

What should the Knicks do with Julius Randle after another implosion?

The season is all but lost for the New York Knicks after a buzzer-beater defeat against the Phoenix Suns on Friday night. Losing by just one point, the Knicks had a fantastic opportunity to overcome one of the best teams in basketball, despite not having Chris Paul available. Now, New York faces certain demise, sitting at 25–38 on the season and having failed to win a game in over three weeks.

However, the problems the team faces aren’t only short-term, their long-term future is also in question, especially with power forward Julius Randle struggling this season on the basketball court and behind the scenes.

In the last of Phoenix, Randle scored 25 points before being ejected in the third quarter after an altercation with Cam Johnson.

“He was hooping, carrying us tonight, he was on his way to a 40-point night,’’ RJ Barrett said of Randle, via Marc Berman of the NY Post. “It would’ve helped us with the energy he brought to the game. But we still should’ve won that game.

“You can’t cross over that line,’’ Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau said. “You got to know where to stop. None of us are perfect. We’re going to make mistakes. But we got to be disciplined.’’

Thibodeau has failed to get his star player in line this season, and after signing a four-year, $117 million this past off-season, New York is on the hook unless they find a viable trade partner.

The reality is simple, Randle can’t carry the Knicks alone, and RJ Barrett still isn’t where he needs to be with his consistency. This year, Randle has seen his efficiency drop significantly, averaging 19.8 points per game and shooting 30.1% from deep. Despite his down year, the Knicks can’t compete without him, putting the team in a weird complex of power.

“It’s tough to lose him. He had a great game going. I’m concerned about everything. The shame of it is I thought we came out with a great effort to start the game. We had the game going in a good way, and we fell short in the end. It’s disappointing to come out with a loss.’’

The only way Randle’s contract will be justified is if the Knicks pair him with another star, preferably a point guard. This upcoming off-season will be interesting, but unless they can find and convince a player to join their ranks, they will be facing the same issue over and over for the duration of his contract.

Knicks News: Doc Rivers points out Knicks’ biggest struggles, injury woes mounting

knicks, tom thibodeau

The New York Knicks lost a disappointing game against the Philadelphia 76ers on Sunday, blowing a lead in the second half, putting up just 20 points in the fourth quarter compared to 36 from their opposition at MSG.

On the day, the Knicks allowed 37 points to Joel Embiid, who recorded 23 free-throw makes on 27 attempts. James Harden contributed 29 points, 16 assists, and 10 rebounds, posting a triple-double to help overcome a lackluster New York team.

The Knicks’ leading scorers were Evan Fournier and RJ Barrett, who both contributed 24 points apiece, but their defense was abysmal in the process. With injuries beginning to log-jam the team, head coach Tom Thibodeau is facing a difficult ending to the season, but everyone is asking the same question, how did they plummet so quickly to mediocrity?

“When you make changes, sometimes that goes well for you and sometimes it doesn’t,’’ Doc Rivers said after the 76ers win, via Marc Berman of the NY Post. “Chemistry is a very fickle thing, as we all know. When you have it, you want it. Sometimes you don’t even know why you have it, but you know you want to try to protect it. And when you lose it, you don’t know why you’re losing it sometimes. But there’s still time.’’

Rivers is specifically hitting at the acquisitions of Fournie and Kemba Walker, both of whom have failed to mesh properly. Walker provides little to no defense and Fournier is also a liability, which is a significant problem considering the team built an identity around strong defensive play last season.

Injuries to point guard Derrick Rose and rookie shooting guard Quentin Grimes have only bogged down the team even further, and it might be too little too late for New York to make a last-second run and push for a postseason spot. The Knicks have lost five consecutive games and nine of their last 10.

They will take on the Philadelphia 76ers once again on March 2, but their schedule doesn’t get any easier with the Phoenix Suns and Los Angeles Clippers coming up next on their road trip. The Knicks currently host a 25–36 record, 15 games out of the first seed in the Eastern Conference and 4.5 games out of the 10th seed, held by the Atlanta Hawks.

Luckily, Grimes at least won’t have to undergo surgery on his injured patella, but he could easily miss the remainder of the season, which would be a significant blow to the team’s defensive contributions.

“As time goes on, we’ll update as we get more information as well,” Thibodeau said. “But we feel like the fact that there’s no surgery is good.”

Report: Knicks’ Tom Thibodeau could be on the hot seat with team bottoming out

New York Knicks, Tom Thibodeau

The New York Knicks blew a 28 point lead on Wednesday night against the Brooklyn Nets, a game they should’ve handily won at MSG.

Head coach Tom Thibodeau has failed to piece together competent player combinations that can help the Knicks get over the hump. In fact, his decision to keep RJ Barrett in a blowout with just seconds left on the clock resulted in an ankle injury that put his team further in disarray.

Piled on top of that, Thibodeau used a second illegal challenge against the Oklahoma City Thunder, costing him a timeout with seconds left on the clock. Consistent mistakes from your head coach are a sign of systemic issues, which likely has people questioning his capabilities running the team at a productive level.

Ian Begley of SNY reported that confidence is diminishing in Tom Thibodeau among executives at MSG:

What we know: Even before the brutal loss to the Nets, confidence in Thibodeau had diminished among some people of influence at Madison Square Garden.

The Knicks have been inconsistent in all aspects of the game – except blowing double-digit leads.

It is understandable to think that confidence is beginning to dwindle regarding Thibodeau, especially after consistent mistakes and poor maximizing of player talents. Julius Randle seems like a shell of himself this season, and his young players from last year aren’t taking the necessary steps forward to help the team win games.

Second-year shooting guard Immanuel Quickley has seen his statistics degrade compared to his rookie season, and Obi Toppin hasn’t fully been able to extrapolate on his capabilities, averaging just 15 minutes per game and 7.3 points.

With the season seemingly lost as we head into the All-Star break, the Knicks need to begin trusting their youth more proficiently. With point guard remaining a significant issue, keeping Miles McBride in Westchester seems like malpractice.

Most expected the Knicks to take a step forward after an impressive 2020 campaign led by elite defense. However, it seemed as if they got a bit too overzealous with their free agency plan, acquiring Evan Fournier and Kemba Walker, both of whom have failed miserably to contribute at a high level.

Thibodeau is undoubtedly a key component in the team’s struggles, but the front office shouldn’t get a pass either for their poor decisions.

Knicks front-office may have made a massive mistake with Mitchell Robinson

The New York Knicks held on for dear life at the trade deadline on February 10, failing to unload any big contracts and acquire more assets for the future. The only deal they managed to complete was with the Atlanta Hawks regarding Cam Reddish, who has made a minimal impact since joining the team.

One player, the Knicks, received calls about was center Mitchell Robinson, who fouled out against the Brooklyn Nets in a devastating defeat after holding a 28 point lead at one point in the game.

Robinson has dealt with foul troubles in two of the last three games but is still having a phenomenal season with the Knicks putting together some consistent performances thanks to a positive health trend. Last year, Robinson struggled with a fractured hand and foot at different points in a season, impacting his flow and rhythm.

The problem is, the Knicks had an opportunity to unload Robinson for assets or include him in a more lucrative deal, but now the Knicks may walk away without getting any value from their homegrown big man.

Marc Berman of the NY Post reported that the Knicks could lose Mitchell Robinson in free agency:

Four teams went after Knicks center Mitchell Robinson at Thursday’s trade deadline, including the Bulls and Pistons, according to an NBA source.

Ultimately the Knicks pulled back, didn’t make any trades, and now risk losing their longest-tenured player as an unrestricted free agent this July.

According to the source, two of the teams who had contacted the Knicks about Robinson got the impression they will lose him if he becomes an unrestricted free agent this summer.

The source said the relationship between Robinson and the Knicks currently isn’t on firm ground.

The Bulls were intrigued by Robinson, according to the source, because they were looking for another defensive center to go along with Nikola Vucevic as they eye a long playoff push.

The Knicks’ decision to not trade Robinson for assets shows they at least feel Robinson would accept a contract extension if one is offered. They can offer him an extension of five years, $55 million.

If the Knicks really allow Mitch to walk without offering him an extension following the end of the season, they will have made a massive mistake. If they never planned on extending him, extracting any value at the deadline would have been a more efficient move.

Robinson will have plenty of suitors looking to add him as a key component to their team, especially if more proficient clubs come calling. Robinson could have a far better situation on the table, notably with the Chicago Bulls, who could use his physicality inside.

Alternatively, the Knicks still have Nerlends Noel, who’s made next to no impact this year struggling with injuries. The front office struck out miserably in free agency last off-season, and if they continue with this trend, they will once again be staring rock bottom in the face.

Some are starting to argue that the Knicks dropping out of the play-in tournament is their best course of action, securing a premium draft pick, which could be an enticing factor in landing an established star in free agency.

The Perfect Storm is currently destroying the Knicks’ chances at playoff contention

knicks, tom thibodeau

The New York Knicks have dropped their last two games to sub .500 teams, the Portland Trailblazers and Oklahoma City Thunder. Oklahoma City had lost five consecutive games before traveling to New York, posting 127 points and winning in overtime.

On paper, the Knicks have a far more proficient team with better playmakers, but they are simply playing out of whack due to bad coaching strategy and lackluster chemistry.

The perfect storm is currently hitting the Knicks after an exciting 2020 campaign where they secured the 4th seed in the Eastern Conference, thanks to impeccable defense. The Knicks have the 15th ranked defensive rating this season after posting the fourth-best last season.

While their interior defense remains strong, allowing just 42.7 points per game from inside the paint, they’ve been an awful perimeter guarding team. Their lack of positioning and communication has plagued them all season long.

Once a target in the 2021 NBA draft, OKC point guard Tre Mann recorded 30 points, shooting 4-of-7 from deep and 9-of-16 from the field. Mann, who is currently a rookie, is averaging 8.3 points per game this year, so nothing astronomical.

In addition, they allowed 28 points to Josh Giddey, another rookie from the most recent draft class. When first-year players are torturing experienced veterans, you know a systemic issue impacts the team.

It goes far beyond the players, though, as head coach Tom Thibodeau completely wasted a time-out at the end of the game, attempting to use a second challenge when he already exhausted his opportunities.

“That was my fault,” Thibodeau said. “I screwed that up.”

The Knicks can’t afford to be having mental issues from their coach, let alone playing abysmal defense day-in and day-out.

The New York Knicks may need to make some changes after this season:

The perfect storm connects to three team factors: the coaching, players, and front office. Leon Rose and upper management can’t be given a pass, considering they whiffed so hard in free agency with Evan Fournier and Kemba Walker. They should’ve been more aggressive at the trade deadline, at least trying to get rid of some big contracts, but instead retained Mitchell Robinson, who’s in the final year of his rookie contract (they should extend him), and remain steadfast with Fournier, who has been wildly inconsistent this season. Walker simply had zero value, so a team would’ve had to acquire additional compensation just to take his contract off the books.

Once again, the Knicks find themselves residing in the laughingstock category, losing winnable games against bad opponents. They’re currently on a stretch of 12 losses in their last 15 games. The schedule doesn’t get any easier with the Brooklyn Nets coming up on Wednesday, Miami on Friday, and Philadelphia in back-to-back games on Sunday and next Wednesday. If matters couldn’t get any worse, they will take on Phoenix and then the Clipper after Philly.

By the end of this six-game stretch, the Knicks could be so far out of playoff contention that ownership considers firing people.

Knicks Update: Team in tough shape with Mitchell Robinson, RJ Barrett injuries

New York Knicks, Mitchell Robinson

After falling to a devoid Portland Trailblazers team, the New York Knicks find themselves between a rock and a hard place. The Knicks held a double-digit lead at one point in the second half, blowing it in the 4th quarter, with Portland securing a 112–103 victory.

Unfortunately for the Knicks, Starting center Mitchell Robinson left the game early with a left ankle sprain, playing just 14 minutes and securing two points. Tom Thibodeau was forced to utilize Taj Gibson as the team’s primary big man for the rest of the game, playing 27 minutes and hauling in seven rebounds.

However, Robinson took responsibility for his tough outing, overlooking the injury and passing it by as if it was nothing too serious.

“The penetration hurt us,’’ Thibodeau said, via Marc Berman of The Post. “I thought the first half, the defense was pretty good. In the second half, it was very poor. Mitch went out early, so Taj’s minutes ran up and then we had to get Taj out of there. Then we tried to go with Jericho and that wasn’t working, then we went small, then we just brought Taj back. If we’re small, we need everyone fighting for rebounds.’’

Robinson has been dealing with a back injury and now left ankle issue, missing the team’s game against the Denver Nuggets before Portland. We should expect him to miss Monday night’s contest against the Oklahoma City Thunder as well.

In addition, RJ Barrett is still dealing with an ankle injury he sustained against the Nuggets last Tuesday. With the team down double-digit points, Thibodeau kept Barrett in the game, a decision that ended up being costly, as he twisted his ankle was just seconds left on the clock.

“I think he’s just day-to-day,’’ Thibodeau said. “Usually it’s just pretty standard to have the boot on to get the swelling out.”

The Knicks desperately need Barrett back if they want to pick up a few wins before the All-Star break, but coming off a tough loss against Portland, the team seems to be in complete shambles.

Knicks completely blew the 2021 off-season, but Damian Lillard could still be a possibility

knicks, damian lillard

The New York Knicks are coming off an embarrassing loss to the Portland Trail Blazers, who played without CJ McCollum, who was traded at the deadline, and Damian Lillard due to injury.

The Knicks have dropped to a new low on the season, failing to beat teams littered with reserved players. With a 20 point lead at one point in the game, picking up a loss is a testament to the lack of willpower and energy they’ve displayed all season long.

With Tom Thibodeau’s team dropping to just 25 wins, seven games below .500, some are beginning to wonder who must take responsibility for the team’s shortcomings. Did the front office miss significantly in the off-season, or is Thibodeau failing to get the best of his players?

Both factors hold reason, and after such a polarizing change in direction, luring big names to the big apple might be far more difficult than it was last off-season. The Knicks had leverage in 2021, targeting players like Damian Lillard and Bradley Beal, but with Julius Randle struggling after his All-Star performance in 2021 and the Knicks’ free agent acquisitions showing wild inconsistencies, they may have to hit restart once again.

Ultimately, the Knicks need a legitimate star alongside Randle to take the pressure off. If you look over at the Brooklyn Nets, they have Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, and Ben Simmons — they’re still not a lock to win a championship.

If the Knicks really want a big name like Lillard, who the team could pursue once again next off-season, they will have to be content with losing one of their rising young players.

“If they’re going to be in the hunt for Lillard, they’d have to have a good lottery pick this year,’’ one NBA executive said, via Marc Berman of the New York Post. “Because they’d have to give up RJ Barrett. I don’t see how they get him otherwise.’’

Realistically, the Knicks will end up in the bottom half of teams in the 2022 NBA draft, but they could make a run at the play-in tournament. If they have a high selection that holds value, Portland, who recently sold the house at the deadline, could be willing to part ways with Lillard and his massive contract.

Lillard signed an extension in 2020, earning over $40 million per season over the next three years with a player option in 2024. Currently, Lillard is out after undergoing abdominal surgery, so it is possible he doesn’t play again this season.

Nonetheless, the Knicks have no shot at being a championship-caliber team with the current players on the roster. They made drastic mistakes in free agency, whereas they should’ve gone after players like DeMar DeRozan, who’s having one of his best years in the league.

Should the Knicks extend Mitchell Robinson before free agency?

mitchell robinson, knicks

The New York Knicks are seeing the best of center Mitchell Robinson to start 2022. The veteran big man is preparing to finish his rookie contract with the Knicks after the season concludes, making him a free agent and available to sign with other teams on the open market.

However, over four games, Robinson is averaging 11 points, 13.5 rebounds, and shooting 64.5% from the field this month. In January, Robinson averaged 10.6 points, 9.1 rebounds, and an 82.6% success rate from the field. Based on his astronomical growth, the Knicks may be heavily considering extending him before he hits free agency.

Head coach Tom Thibodeau is a huge advocate for Robinson, who recently stated that he wasn’t even full strength yet, still working on his stamina after missing the majority of the 2020 campaign due to numerous injuries.

Teammate RJ Barrett raves about Mitchell’s performance lately:

“He’s just healthy,’’ RJ Barrett said. “Now you’re seeing a guy getting in a groove. He’s such a gift offensively and defensively. Eight blocks is incredible and all the offensive rebounds.… Sometimes I just shoot it because I know he’s going to get it.’’

The Knicks haven’t given Robinson the freedom to take shots and utilize his underrated ball skills, but he still manages to produce adequate scoring performances around the rim on dunks.

Mitchell is considered an old-school center with his physical mentality around the rim. He’s exactly the type of player that Thibodeau loves to have inside, making him valuable if the Knicks plan to continue on with Thibs as their head coach for the foreseeable future.

Robinson drew significant interest at the deadline from teams like the Detroit Pistons, but the Knicks elected to stay put and settled for Cam Reddish as their only acquisition. Coming off the deadline, the Knicks overcame the Golden State Warriors at their arena on Thursday night, with Randle producing seven points and 11 rebounds.

The 23-year-old center will look to continue his impressive streak of games to start the new year, and if he’s able to, it will be incredibly difficult for the front office not to retain him on a multi-year deal.