With the 3 p.m. ET Feb. 18 trade deadline just two days away, the New York Knicks are rumored to be active in trade talks with multiple players.
The point guard position seems to be the one they are going after the most, and Ricky Rubio of the Minnesota Timberwolves and Jeff Teague of the Atlanta Hawks appear to be highest on their radar.
The 27-year-old Teague (15.1 PPG, 5.5 APG) is playing above his career average and at a slightly higher level than Rubio (9.7 PPG, 8.6 APG). Rubio's numbers are barely down from last season.
Per Marc Stein and Brian Windhorst of ESPN.com, the Knicks have options when it comes to trying to land Teague:
The Knicks, who also strongly covet Teague in their search for a front-line point guard, are trying their best to get a team interested in Jose Calderon and the $7.7 million owed to the Spaniard next season. Sources say New York is talking up Calderon's leadership qualities and, in some cases, offering to include big man Kyle O’Quinn to sweeten proposals.
New York better talk up the leadership well considering Calderon, who has started all 51 games for the Knicks, is in the midst of his worst season since his rookie campaign in 2005-06, averaging just 7.5 points and 4.1 assists per game. To put his season in perspective, teammate and forward Carmelo Anthony is averaging more assists (4.2) than Calderon.
Adam Zagoria of SNY.tv compared Calderon to Washington Wizards All-Star John Wall after a Feb. 9 Knicks loss:
Adam Zagoria @AdamZagoria
PG comparison: Jose Calderon 0 points, 6 assists, 3 rebounds John Wall 28, 17, 52016-2-10 03:40:37
Chris Herring of the Wall Street Journal dove deep into the numbers to prove why Calderon should, but won't, be traded:
When given at least 4 feet of open space, Calderon knocks down better than 51% (37-of-72) of his two-point jumpers from 10 feet out or farther, and has hit better than 43% (50-of-115) of his triples when given that much space, according to the NBA’s tracking statistics. The Knicks currently rank in the bottom five in 3-point percentage.
The numbers highlight why it makes little sense for Calderon to possess the ball for a team-high 4 minutes and 20 seconds, roughly, each game. If he has the ball in his hands that much, and can’t get around defenders, he has almost no opportunity to use his best attribute. It also leaves opposing point guards with more juice at the end of games, since they don’t have to exert much energy to stay with Calderon defensively.
While many fans would love to see Calderon dealt, [president Phil] Jackson said only last year that other teams weren’t interested, meaning he’s likely to stay with the Knicks, since he’s under contract for another season after this at just under $8 million next year.
The addition of O’Quinn would certainly help despite the fact he is scoring just 4.5 points per game. However, he only plays about 11 minutes per contest, and his 36-minute average of 14.4 points and 11.7 rebounds would be of interest to a team looking for a power forward.
|New York Knicks Past Five Seasons|
|2011-12||36-30||Lost in First Round||Mike D'Antoni/Mike Woodson|
|2012-13||54-28||Lost in Conference Semis||Mike Woodson|
|2015-16||23-32*||N/A||Derek Fisher/Kurt Rambis|
|Basketball-Reference.com/*As of Feb. 15|
However, obtaining Teague will not be easy, as his name has come up in multiple trade talks, including a three-way deal between the Hawks, Miami Heat and Houston Rockets, per Adam Spolane of Houston's Sports Radio 610.
If Teague doesn't work out, Rubio would be a nice consolation prize. Even though he is not producing at the same level he did a year ago, he averages more than eight assists per game over his five-year career saddled with injuries.
It won't be easy to land the 25-year-old, per Frank Isola of the New York Daily News:
Incumbent Ricky Rubio is readily available and the feeling is that the Spanish guard could be moved prior to Thursday's NBA trade deadline.
Phil Jackson is in the market for a point guard but it's hard to envision the Knicks having the assets to acquire the 25-year-old Rubio, whose season average in points (9.7), assists (8.6) and minutes (30.3) are down this year.
Jackson wants desperately to make the playoffs - as evidenced by his quick trigger decision to fire Derek Fisher 136 games into his tenure - but finding an upgrade in the backcourt is tricky.
Isola is most likely referring to what nearly everyone else is when it comes to Calderon. He is not able to attract suitors, which could derail any deal Jackson is trying to make involving a point guard.
Anyone looking for the superstar Anthony to be dealt and possibly free some cap space for the team is likely to be disappointed, as he said Saturday, "I’m not going anywhere," per SiriusXM Radio (h/t Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News).
It looks like the trade deadline could come and go without the 23-32 Knicks making a big splash. If so, expect another non-playoff season for New York.