Knicks Trade Rumors: Jermaine O'Neal Would Be a Disaster for New York

Mike MoraitisAnalyst IFebruary 20, 2013

PHOENIX, AZ - DECEMBER 09:  Jermaine O'Neal #20 and Markieff Morris #11 of the Phoenix Suns during the NBA game against the Orlando Magic at US Airways Center on December 9, 2012 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Magic defeated the Suns 98-90. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

The New York Knicks have been looking to bolster their front court as the NBA trade deadline approaches on Feb. 21. Their latest target appears to be Jermaine O'Neal of the Phoenix Suns.

ESPN's Chris Broussard broke the news:

O'Neal has played in 37 games for the Suns off the bench this season, averaging a little over 16 minutes per game. In his limited role, O'Neal is scoring 6.9 points and grabbing 4.5 rebounds per game.

New York looked to be deep in the big man department when the season started, but that has all changed thanks to constant injury problems of Rasheed Wallace and Marcus Camby.

Camby has missed 36 games and Wallace has missed 30 himself, and neither look to be returning anytime soon.

Wallace's absence has been the most impactful—he proved to not only be a solid scorer in the post as well as a decent defender—but he also helped New York spread the floor in ways that not many big men can.

So, clearly the Knicks do have a void to fill, but O'Neal is not the right guy to do it.

The Knicks have already seen their elder statesman battle injuries this season, so adding another aging player (O'Neal is 34) who has battled countless injuries during his career is not a smart move.

Somehow O'Neal has managed to stay healthy for the majority of the 2012-13 campaign, but that's likely more a credit to the magical Suns training staff that has been known to keep perennially injured players healthy (see: Grant Hill).

With the Knicks' luck, the second the plane carrying O'Neal to New York takes off, he'll need major knee surgery or something of that nature.

It would be foolish for the Knicks to give up anything for O'Neal when he could end up riding the pine for the rest of the season at any given moment.

As recently as last month, O'Neal was sidelined with an irregular heartbeat, so you can throw that into the slew of other issues that O'Neal has had.

On a team that has already seen its front court decimated by injuries as a result of age, it would make no sense for the Knicks to add another to the pile by acquiring Jermaine O'Neal.