Knicks Trade Rumors: NY Was 'Very Hesitant' to Move Kevin Knox at Deadline

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistFebruary 28, 2020

New York Knicks' Kevin Knox II plays during an NBA basketball game against the Philadelphia 76ers, Thursday, Feb. 27, 2020, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
Matt Slocum/Associated Press

The New York Knicks reportedly made it clear prior to the 2020 NBA trade deadline that they were not keen on moving second-year forward Kevin Knox.

According to SNY's Ian Begley, other NBA teams got the impression during negotiations that the Knicks were "very hesitant" to trade Knox. Teams also felt the Knicks would only trade Knox if they were getting a young star in return.

New York selected Knox with the No. 9 overall pick in the 2018 NBA draft out of Kentucky. Even though Knox has taken a step back this season compared to what he did as a rookie, the Knicks reportedly still view him as a key building block moving forward.

Last season, Knox started 57 of the 75 games he appeared in and averaged 12.8 points, 4.5 rebounds and 1.1 assists per contest. He also shot 37.0 percent from the field and 34.3 percent from long range.

This season, Knox has made only four starts in 58 games, and his averages have dipped to 6.5 points, 2.8 rebounds and 0.9 assists. He is also less efficient with a field-goal percentage of 36.2 percent and three-point percentage of 31.9 percent.

Part of the reason why Knox went from playing 28.8 minutes per game last season to just 18.1 this season is the fact that New York took RJ Barrett with the No. 3 overall pick in the 2019 draft.

Barrett has been a regular starter for the Knicks as a rookie, and the former Duke standout is averaging 13.7 points, 5.1 rebounds and 2.4 assists in 30.4 minutes per game.

Additionally, the Knicks have brought in several veteran shooting guards and wings since the offseason, including Wayne Ellington, Reggie Bullock and Maurice Harkless, which has impacted Knox's playing time as well.

Even so, Knox's drop-off is disconcerting, especially since 2017 first-round pick Frank Ntilikina is looking like a bust. Knox is still only 20 years of age, but with so many young players developing into stars, Knox is playing catch-up.

At 17-42, the Knicks have the second-worst record in the Eastern Conference this season, and they are heading toward another high pick in the draft. That hasn't served them well in recent years, though, as most of their recent first-rounders are struggling.

If Knox turns out to be a bust, Knicks fans will likely be left wondering what they could have gotten for him when he was still highly touted across the league.

The potential is there, but unless the Knicks clear out the glut of wings on their roster and give him more opportunities down the stretch this season and next season, it will be tough for Knox to prove his worth.

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