New York Knicks Make Small Trade With Big Implications

David CohenSenior Analyst IJuly 28, 2008

The Knicks have agreed to trade SF Renaldo Balkman to the Denver Nuggets for SF Bobby Jones, PG Taurean Green, and a 2010 second round pick.

The deal is a great move for the Nuggets, as Balkman directly replaces Eduardo Najera. Green was going to get cut by the Nuggets after a poor Summer League showing, and Bobby Jones would have been at the end of the bench.

As far as the incoming talent is concerned, the best thing the Knicks received was the future pick. The Knicks already have PGs in Chris Duhon, Mardy Collins, Nate Robinson, and Anthony Roberson. Jones is also in a bad spot when you consider forwards Quentin Richardson, Wilson Chandler, David Lee, and Danilo Gallinari.

The most important thing in this deal has to do with guaranteed contracts. The Knicks had 16 guaranteed contracts when they signed Roberson, but the departure of Balkman fixes that. Neither Green nor Jones has a guaranteed contract, so if (and probably when) the Knicks waive them, the team will be at the cut line.

If this is indeed the plan, then it means the Knicks are not planning to buyout G Stephon Marbury or C Jerome James. They needed one spot to trim off the roster, and buying out either of them would have satisfied that goal.

Marbury is part of a convoluted picture at the point for the Knicks. If head coach Mike D’Antoni and General Manager Donnie Walsh plan to keep him, he won’t start at point guard.

The Knicks have a hole at SG if you look at the depth chart. Marbury could start at SG and Jamal Crawford could slide to the SF position. This would allow Quentin Richardson to backup the two of them at either position.

This would also take some pressure off Danilo Gallinari to contribute big minutes immediately. Since his durability has already become an issue, that isn’t a bad idea.

The Knicks could still move PF Zach Randolph, G/F Jared Jeffries, and/or F David Lee. But in the case of Jeffries and Randolph it would be difficult for the Knicks to work out a deal of value if they couldn’t bring back an equal number of players. Getting down to the 15 line gives the Knicks some more flexibility in trade talks.

Donnie Walsh and the Knicks are up to something. It might be a major deal.

It might also mean that Marbury will lace up his Starbury’s at the Garden again after all.