Knicks Rumors: 'A Few' Players Have Privately Stated Their Desire to Be Traded

Megan ArmstrongAnalyst IIIDecember 27, 2019

NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 19: A close up of the New York Knicks logo is seen during the game against the Washington Wizards on January 19, 2017 at Madison Square Garden in New York City, 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 2017 NBAE (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)
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The 8-24 New York Knicks are tied for the NBA's second-worst mark and, according to SNY's Ian Begley on Friday, "a few" players don't want to stick around beyond the league's Feb. 6 trade deadline:

"There's no reason to think the Knicks won't make and take calls on any players on the roster, with the likely exception of RJ Barrett and Mitchell Robinson. 

We already know several teams—including the Minnesota Timberwolves—have expressed interest in guard Dennis Smith Jr. It's also worth noting that a few Knicks have said privately in recent weeks that they prefer to be traded ahead of the Feb. 6 trade deadline, per SNY sources. 

It's unclear if any of those players have made a formal trade request to management, but the idea that Knicks players want to be somewhere else is indicative of how things have gone for New York this season."

The Athletic and Stadium's Shams Charania reported Friday that "rival teams believe Dennis Smith Jr. prefers a move from the Knicks." 

Smith arrived in New York less than a year ago as part of the trade package the Dallas Mavericks shipped to the Knicks for Kristaps Porzingis. Dallas selected the 22-year-old point guard ninth overall in 2017. He averaged 14.7 points, 5.4 assists, 2.8 rebounds and 1.3 steals in 28.6 minutes across 21 games (18 starts) for New York last season.

Those numbers have dropped significantly this season, as Smith has fallen behind Elfrid Payton and Frank Ntilikina at point guard. He's averaging just 5.2 points, 2.7 assists and 2.1 rebounds across 21 games and only one start.

Marc Berman of the New York Post reported Wednesday the Knicks wish to participate in a blockbuster trade in which they'll gain a star rather than lose one: "In the dream scenario, the Knicks, according to the source, envision being in good position to make a blockbuster trade for a star player who could grow 'disgruntled' with his current situation. The NBA's recent past is full of such cases—Kyrie Irving, Kawhi Leonard, Jimmy Butler and [Anthony] Davis."

Berman added that an anonymous source named Minnesota Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns as a player the Knicks "are expected to monitor."

The Knicks would likely have to pull off a trade to land a star given their shaky state. Head coach David Fizdale was fired on Dec. 6 after he led the team to a 4-18 start after it finished an NBA-worst 17-65 last season. The Athletic's Frank Isola has also reported team president Steve Mills "will either be reassigned or simply removed from the building."

That's not exactly an alluring free-agent destination and, apparently, a place players want to stay.

Mike Miller is serving as the interim head coach, and New York has gone 4-6 since the change.