Knicks Trade Rumors: Warriors Linked to Kyle O'Quinn, Teams Eye Enes Kanter

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistJanuary 23, 2018

BROOKLYN, NY - JANUARY 15:  Kyle O'Quinn #9 of the New York Knicks looks on during the game against the Brooklyn Nets on January 15, 2018 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. 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. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)
Nathaniel S. Butler/Getty Images

The New York Knicks currently have four centers on their roster, and teams around the NBA have expressed interest in several of them, according to Ian Begley of ESPN.com.  

Per that report, "several teams have expressed interest in 23-year-old center Willy Hernangomez," while the Golden State Warriors have shown interest in Kyle O'Quinn. Team have also been interested in the possibility of acquiring Enes Kanter.

As Begley noted, Hernangomez may have the most trade value because of his age (23) and contract (he's due to make $1.5 million next season and $1.6 in 2019-20). Kanter ($18.6 million) and O'Quinn ($4.3 million) will be far more expensive next year, though either could opt out.

On the court, Kanter (13.5 PPG, 10.0 RPG) and O'Quinn (6.9 PPG, 5.8 RPG, 1.0 BPG) are the more productive players. 

"O'Quinn has certainly outperformed his contract," David Jacober, a strategic planning consultant for NBA teams, told Begley. "His diversity on offense makes him attractive to a number of teams, such as Houston and Golden State."

Of course, it's also unclear if the Knicks will be buyers or sellers. The team is currently 21-26 and slipping in the Eastern Conference playoff picture. As of Tuesday, they are 10th in the East standings, three games behind the current No. 8 seed Philadelphia 76ers.

But it's possible they could look to add another star player. As Begley reported, "As of late last week, Charlotte had hoped to engage with the Knicks on trade talks involving [Kemba] Walker, but no substantial discussions had taken place at that point, per league sources."

The hang-up is that executives around the league believe the Knicks aren't interested in giving away draft assets unless they land a superstar, a wise approach as they seek to build a winner around Kristaps Porzingis. While Walker (21.8 PPG, 5.9 APG) is an excellent player who would help them in the short term, he isn't the sort of superstar who would make the Knicks a long-term title contender alongside Porzingis.

So it's easier to imagine the Knicks becoming sellers, with a glut of centers and intriguing veteran wings like Courtney Lee and Lance Thomas to dangle as trade bait, especially if they continue to struggle before the trade deadline. The Knicks got fans excited with their strong start, but the team would be best-served taking the long view.

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