When Knicks Return to Full Strength, These 4 Knicks Will Hit the Trade Block
After a promising 2011-12 season was derailed by a litany of injurers to key players, the New York Knicks spent the 2012 offseason bolstering their depth at every position on the floor.
After watching Baron Davis, Jeremy Lin, Amar'e Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony all battle with injuries last season, the team's front office clearly did not want another repeat performance.
That depth has proved essential thus far this season as it has kept them not only afloat, but absolutely thriving even with Stoudemire and Iman Shumpert having yet to play a single game as they recover from their respective knee injuries.
However, once those two return there simply will not be enough minutes to go around and with the aggressive, defense-first system this team runs, it may make sense for the team to put a number of their players on the trade block once their roster is finally fully healthy.
This obviously does not mean these players are locks to be dealt, but do not be surprised if you see any of these four current Knicks players being dangled in trade offers come January and February.
Poor Ronnie Brewer. It seems like everywhere he goes he deserves more minutes than he gets, and yet he is always buried on depth charts despite being a very solid perimeter player.
In his first season with New York, Brewer has played well as a starter, averaging 8.5 points, five rebounds and 1.4 assists per game while shooting 49.1 percent from the floor and an impressive 42.1 percent from three-point territory.
He has had some solid games, including a 13-point, 10-rebound performance against the Philadelphia 76ers.
However, Brewer's 24.5 minutes per game should dip significantly once Iman Shumpert comes back.
Brewer was brought in essentially as an inexpensive stopgap while Shumpert recovered from his ACL injury. However, Brewer will be thrust into the third shooting guard role behind not only Shumpert once he returns, but J.R. Smith, who has had a strong start to the 2012-13 season.
Brewer is a good wing defender that is incredibly physical with his assignment and has proven to be a decent scoring option off the bench. Though he has far more experience than Shumpert, especially in the playoffs, he no longer possesses anywhere near the upside of the former Georgia Tech standout.
He is a tremendous athlete, a physical rebounder and has improved his jump shot, but Brewer is not great at creating his own offense and historically has not been a particularly strong three-point shooter or a reliable scoring option for long stretches of time.
Since Brewer's contract is worth just $1.4 million this season it will be difficult for the Knicks to get back significant value in terms of a quality player. Yet, they may be able to package him to a contender for a young, underutilized player or even a first-round draft pick.
Brewer is a valuable contributor, and it would certainly not be a bad thing for the Knicks to keep him for the remainder of the season. Yet, if Shumpert comes back ready to contribute at a high level and Smith proves his elevated level of play is no fluke, it may make more sense for New York to try to get something in return for Brewer than have him play 12 minutes per game and rot on the bench.
Marcus Camby was brought in by New York to be a veteran presence off the bench and provide quality reserve minutes behind Tyson Chandler, but his injury troubles as well as the Knicks' deep frontcourt have kept him from playing major minutes and that will very likely be the case going forward this season.
Appearing in just three contests, Camby has averaged 0.7 points and 2.7 boards in just 8.3 minutes of playing time per game.
The team is obviously easing him back into shape and hoping he will be a contributor come February or March, but the reality is that there are other, size-strapped teams that would likely be willing to take a gamble on an aging, but proven center like Camby.
Given that he is 38 years old, the Knicks' decision to tender Camby a three-year contract offer always seemed questionable and that suspicion has only grown since he has struggled so mightily to see the floor.
The reality is, because of what he does for the team defensively and on the glass, Tyson Chandler will not see his minutes reduced by anything bit injury or foul trouble, so there are simply not many minutes available for Camby to begin with, and there will be even less one Stoudemire, who can log time at center, returns from his knee troubles.
In addition, the thoroughly unexpected success of Rasheed Wallace off the bench means there are even less minutes to go around in the frontcourt, as Camby simply cannot produce offensively like Wallace with his shooting ability and touch around the basket.
Throughout his career, Camby has been a non-entity as a scorer, but he remains a rugged rebounder, a gifted shot-blocker and an extremely talented passing big men.
These skills have diminished as he has lost some of his quickness and athleticism, but Camby played well in 2011-2012 with the Portland Trail Blazers and Houston Rockets.
Though his deal, which runs through the 2014-15 season, may be a little hard to stomach for some teams, there may be some willing to take the risk because of Camby's size and defensive impact, even if he will be 40 when the contract expires.
New York will not have use for him in the near future, and due to their murky cap situation, the club may put the former Defensive Player of the Year on the trading block sooner rather than later while they still may be able to get something worthwhile for him.
Kurt Thomas came to New York in the team's sign-and-trade deal for Raymond Felton and while he has been a respectable option for spot minutes off the bench at power forward and center, the return of Stoudemire and the continued excellence of Carmelo Anthony will make him ultimately expendable later in the 2012-13 season.
In 12.5 minutes of work, Thomas has averaged two points and 3.5 rebounds on merely 27.3 percent shooting from the floor. Despite his underwhelming numbers, Thomas has actually filled his role adequately as the squad's second big man off the bench.
Thomas, who turned 40 years old in October, is no longer the capable scorer and dominant rebounder he was during his first stint with New York from 1998-2005, but he is still a strong role player who is willing to sacrifice his body, take charges and bang inside in order to snag tough boards.
Offensively he is not much of a post scorer and will not attack the rim, but Thomas still has as reliable a mid-range jump shot as anyone and can help open up some room down low for his teammates to work.
Thomas is mostly non-existent on offense and his role on the team is really to rebound, run the floor and clog up the paint defensively.
Any team that would like to trade for Thomas is likely a contender looking to bring in one more inexpensive veteran piece who can still contribute a few minutes per night but is mostly an extremely positive locker-room presence given his history in the league.
Thomas has been through everything during high lengthy NBA tenure and could certainly contribute to a team looking to add one more leader on the floor, even if he only has at most a year or two left as a professional basketball player.
Because of his age and declining skills New York would not be able to net anything significant in a deal for Thomas, but because of their crowded frontcourt it would be far from surprising to see the team dangle Kurt Thomas on the market, possibly as part of a larger package.
Stoudemire was expected to be ready to start the 2012-13 season and show off the more polished post game he learned from working with Hakeem Olajuwon, but knee troubles have kept him out of the lineup and on the sideline as his team has raced out to a 7-1 start to their campaign.
This Knicks team has looked absolutely brilliant in their eight games, beating upper-echelon squads like the Miami Heat, San Antonio Spurs and Philadelphia 76ers while only losing once to a ferocious Memphis Grizzlies team.
Because the team has been playing so well with Carmelo Anthony as the focal point of their offense, it makes sense that the team may look to fully commit to this style of play, which is the kind that Mike Woodson stressed when he took over in April 2012, even if means dealing Amar'e.
Anthony has thrived playing power forward thanks to his strength, quickness and perimeter shooting ability. He is a nightmare match-up for slower-footed forwards who struggle to keep up with him and can bully weaker forwards in the post thanks to his strong frame.
Tyson Chandler has started the season slowly, but is still a capable finisher at the rim and clogger of the lane that can anchor a defense as well as anyone.
Add to that the play of Rasheed Wallace off the bench and this New York team already has a very deep frontcourt, even without their All-Star big man.
The money committed to Chandler and Anthony means the Knicks must be cap conscious in the future and if they can find a team willing to take on the remainder of Stoudemire's contract that will clear up a huge amount of money for the team's future.
Even if they receive an underwhelming package in return, the financial freedom is certainly something to covet in today's NBA landscape.
This New York team has not struggled to score points, ranking seventh in the league this far at 100.5 points per game thanks to 'Melo's scoring prowess and strong play from their guards.
They are also the league's best team defensively in terms of points allowed, giving up just 90 per game. Stat can often be a liability on the defensive end and fails to put in the consistent effort necessary to thrive in Woodson's system.
Stoudemire is still an elite talent in this league, but with the combination of the team's hot start, his health concerns and their current identity, it may make sense for the team to put Stat on the trade block once he is finally healthy.