Knicks showcase Kevin Knox as trade interests pick up steam

New York Knicks, Kevin Knox

The writing is on the wall.

Kevin Knox’s failure to crack Tom Thibodeau’s regular rotation speaks volumes of his bleak future with the New York Knicks.

Following Knox’s best game of the season, Shams Charania of The Athletic reported on Monday that the seldom-used Knicks forward is garnering interests from rival executives. Knox is eligible to become a restricted free agent in 2022.

“Sources said teams are inquiring about Knicks forward Kevin Knox, who has played in just seven games this season and has rival executives wondering the plan for the 22-year-old in New York,” Charania wrote.

Knox got his rare chance to play meaningful minutes on Sunday with RJ Barrett and Obi Toppin (health and safety protocols) and Alec Burks (personal reasons) skipping Sunday’s 112-97 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks.

The former lottery pick did his best to showcase his potential to future Knicks’ trade partners.

Knox knocked down five three-pointers on his way to 18 points in 29 minutes. He grabbed five rebounds and added one assist and a steal off the bench which drew praise from Thibodeau.

“[Kevin] comes in every day. He’s early. He’s part of the early group. A lot of those guys aren’t in the rotation but [their job] is to stay ready so, when you’re called upon that you can perform well. We know he’s got the skill level to shoot and it’s the other things that we need him to do are defense and rebounding also. But I was pleased with his readiness and his ability to shoot the ball,” Thibodeau said.

When the Knicks are at full strength, Knox’s only floor time is during garbage minutes. Sunday’s game was only Knox’s seventh game of the season. He has fallen off since showing promise in his rookie year. The 2018 9th overall pick averaged 12.8 points and 4.5 rebounds in 75 games, including a career-high 57 starts, as a rookie.

The knock on Knox is his lack of motor and defensive skills.

In a one-on-one trade, it is unclear what the Knicks could get in return for Knox. During last season’s trade deadline, the Knicks swapped Dennis Smith, Jr., another former Knick who fell out of favor, for Derrick Rose. But currently, the Knicks rotation is complete. So there’s not a spot for a veteran player to come in unless they also unload a key rotation player.

A future pick is a more likely return for Knox to add to the Knicks’ draft capital for a potential deal for a star down the road.

Knox could also serve as a throw-in in a larger package deal before the trade deadline. The Knicks have been linked to Philadelphia’s disgruntled star Ben Simmons.

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Report: Knicks in trade talks for Magic’s Terrence Ross; Lakers offered Kyle Kuzma

terrence ross, knicks

The New York Knicks‘ phone lines are busy exploring all their options ahead of tonight’s NBA Draft — from trading up into the lottery and swapping their picks for a veteran.

Chris Duarte remains the trade-up target for the Knicks, according to several reports. At the same time, Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer added that they are also in trade talks to acquire veteran guard Terrence Ross from Orlando Magic. Ian Begley of SNY was the first to note Ross’s involvement in trade discussions with several teams.

“League sources say the Knicks are involved in trade talks for Magic guard Terrence Ross. They would also like to move up in the draft, possibly to select Chris Duarte,” O’Connor wrote.

Ross is owed $24 million over the next two years and is due for a $12.5 million salary next season. With the Knicks having an ample cap space this summer, they can just absorb Ross’s salary in exchange for picks. The 30-year old guard is coming off his finest season, averaging a career-best 15.6 points and 2.3 assists. He shot 34 percent on 5.7 three-point attempts.

Ross torched the Knicks last season with a pair of explosive games. He had 19 points on 4-of-8 three-pointers and three assists in their first meeting back in January. He came back with a 30-point outing on 5-of-6 shooting from deep in their second meeting that he laced up with six rebounds, four assists, two steals, and two blocks.

The Knicks are looking to add more shooting and veteran presence at the wings with Alec Burks, and Reggie Bullock set to become free agents.

Meanwhile, the Indiana Pacers balked at the Knicks’ offer to trade up for their 13th pick in the lottery with their eyes on Oregon swingman Chris Duarte, per J. Michael of Indy Star.

“The New York Knicks have cap space and have expressed interest in jumping up from Nos. 19 and 21 for a shot at Duarte. They’re open to part with players on their roster to get it done but they don’t have a desirable group,” according to the Indy Star report.

Kevin Knox, who is still on a rookie contract with a cap-friendly $5.8 million owed next season, used to be high on the Pacers’ list, but that has dipped after the former lottery pick failed to carve out a meaningful role under coach Tom Thibodeau last season. Suffice to say that there’s no clear pathway for the Knicks to move up to the Pacers’ spot in the lottery.

“A little more than a season ago, Kevin Knox generated some interest from the Pacers, league sources said at the time, but that never went anywhere and he has since fallen off. With their cap space, the Knicks are able to absorb any undesirable contracts to make a deal but the Pacers don’t have any,” the report added.

Interestingly, according to the same Indy Star report, the Knicks were one of the teams who received a call from the Los Angeles Lakers involving Kyle Kuzma.

“They offered Kyle Kuzma to Indiana for a pick swap that was declined (also have offered him to Utah, Minnesota, Cleveland, New York, and likely others),” the report said.

It is not clear if the Knicks-Lakers discussion gained traction. But it seems that talks are dead now as the Lakers have reportedly pivoted and stepped up their efforts to land Sacramento Kings’ Buddy Hield with a package centered on Kuzma.

Follow this writer on Twitter: @alderalmo