Why New York Knicks Were Right to Stay Quiet at NBA Trade Deadline

Ciaran GowanContributor IIIFebruary 23, 2013

MEMPHIS, TN - MAY 13:  Kenyon Martin #2 of the Los Angeles Clippers reacts in the final minutes of their 82-72 win over the Memphis Grizzlies in Game Seven of the Western Conference Quarterfinals in the 2012 NBA Playoffs at FedExForum on May 13, 2012 in Memphis, Tennessee.  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 Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
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The NBA trade deadline has been and gone, with the New York Knicks only making minor moves as the clock ran out on Thursday night.

Despite rumors of a potential trade of Iman Shumpert or Amar'e Stoudemire, the Knicks were much quieter when it came down to it.

The trade of swingman Ronnie Brewer to the Oklahoma City Thunder made a lot of sense. Brewer wasn't seeing much playing time in New York, so getting something in return for him (even if it was only a second-round pick) was definitely the right thing to do.

More importantly, though, the Brewer trade opened up a roster spot, which the Knicks quickly used to pick up free agent Kenyon Martin on a 10-day contract.

Martin—a proven veteran with playoff experience—comes in as a low-risk, high-reward player, as the Knicks can easily let go of him and pick up another player if things don't work out.

But if the signing does pan out and Martin plays as well as expected, the Knicks have themselves the rebounding, defensive-minded big they've been in need of for the last few months.

They also get him at a discount price, having failed to bring him in before the season when he was after more than the veteran's minimum (according to Marc Stein).

General Manager Glen Grunwald summed up nicely what K-Mart brings to the table for New York (via ESPN):

He's a great competitor and a good defender and he's played with number of our players on the Knicks (including Carmelo Anthony and J.R. Smith). We're just looking forward to adding another good defender who can help us in our quest this season.

Signing Kenyon is a bit of insurance for our bigs in case these tricky injuries continue to trouble Rasheed and Marcus. But also that I think Martin's a versatile defender and can play and defend three positions in the NBA. It gives us a little bit more depth and more insurance.

As their overall record this season shows, the Knicks already have a talented roster, so a depth boost was really all that was needed at the deadline. Trading away a major piece could have been successful on paper, but at the same time, the front office had to be wary of ruining the team's chemistry.

Shumpert, in particular, is a player that could have brought back something significant in return, but he's popular in the locker room and has the potential to be a big part of the franchise's future.

The team was right to explore a trade, but in the end, it wasn't worth letting go of such a promising prospect just to bring back a player like J.J. Redick or Jared Dudley. Even if both players are better right now, Shumpert's potential makes him a much more valuable asset to the Knicks.

Though the inactivity at the deadline was justified, it cannot be ignored that the Knicks are struggling right now.

Offensively, the team has been stagnant, with a lack of ball movement and way too many isolation plays being the root of the problem. And, as it has been all season, the defense has been unimpressive considering the talent on the roster.

That said, these aren't the type of issues that can be fixed just by making a trade. These are internal culture problems that Mike Woodson needs to erase as the head coach, and while it's worrying to see the team play so badly, you don't just make a trade as soon as you run into trouble.

The primary focus right now has to be a return to ball movement and team defense as the top priorities. This is how it was when the Knicks were dominating in November and how it will have to be if the team is to have the same success again this season.

As far as the trade deadline is concerned, however, the front office did a good job. It explored the market, decided there was nothing worthwhile and brought in a new contributor in a way that won't disrupt chemistry.

It's once again some solid work from Grunwald, who is emerging as one of the league's best executives here in his second season at the helm.

Now it's down to those dealing with the on-court issues to make good on his work.