Knicks' Updated Trade Targets with 2021 NBA Deadline Approaching

Zach Buckley@@ZachBuckleyNBANational NBA Featured ColumnistMarch 4, 2021

Knicks' Updated Trade Targets with 2021 NBA Deadline Approaching

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    Gerald Herbert/Associated Press

    Don't look now, but the New York Knicks are holding down the fifth spot in the Eastern Conference standings—halfway through the 2020-21 NBA season!

    What does that mean for the March 25 trade deadline? The Bockers could be buyers. And not just man-we're-tired-of-losing-let's-try-to-actually-compete buyers but the kind of club making targeted purchases to improve not just their playoff hopes but also potentially their playoff seeding.

    The question for the Knicks brass to tackle is what kind of buying they should be doing. Coach Tom Thibodeau might prefer win-now types, and there are certainly some options in that department. But New York shouldn't lose sight of the long-term picture, so up-and-comers who can contribute right away but also grow into something greater might be ideal.

    The following three trade targets land in one of those buckets.

Marvin Bagley III, Sacramento Kings

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    Randall Benton/Associated Press

    Are the Sacramento Kings convinced that Marvin Bagley III is a long-term keeper? Does 2018's No. 2 pick think his future belongs in their hands?

    The fact that neither question can be answered definitively—well, by anyone other than Bagley's father, who has declared his wish for his son to be traded—is reason enough for the Knicks to make a call. They could use more building blocks, and it is worth finding out whether Bagley could qualify as such.

    His talent intrigues, especially at the offensive end. He's a clever post scorer who can also step away from the basket to face up his defender or even pull the trigger from distance (1.0 threes per game, 37.5 percent shooting). There's some promise of three-level scoring in his future, and the Knicks could utilize it to bolster their bench and later to form some of their long-term visions.

    New York, of course, has other frontcourt options—namely, Mitchell Robinson, Julius Randle and 2020's No. 8 pick, Obi Toppin—but that shouldn't prevent the organization from pursuing Bagley. The Knicks would be adding talent and upside to that group, and if they discover they have too many cooks in the kitchen, they might have a few attractive trade chips to throw around to balance the roster.

Lonzo Ball, New Orleans Pelicans

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    Mary Altaffer/Associated Press

    Saying this might rile up the Immanuel Quickley stans, but the Knicks need a point guard (Quickley looks great, by the way, he's just more of a scorer than a table-setter).

    Despite the best efforts of Randle and Derrick Rose, New York lacks in the shot-creation department. Entering Wednesday, the Knicks sit just 29th in assist percentage and 27th in assist-to-turnover ratio. Those numbers heavily contribute to the club's 23rd-place ranking in offensive efficiency.

    Lonzo Ball could be perfect. He's a natural-born passer, and his penchant for playmaking would allow Randle, Rose and RJ Barrett to focus more on find their own shots. Ball could keep everyone else happy. For his career, he's been good for 7.1 assists against just 2.9 turnovers per 36 minutes.

    He defends multiple positions, he hits the glass hard and, since the start of last season, he shreds nets from downtown (2.6 threes on 38.3 percent shooting). He wouldn't be cheap to pry from the New Orleans Pelicans, though his upcoming restricted free agency should keep his trade cost from being outrageous. So long as that's the case, he would be worth the investment.

JJ Redick, New Orleans Pelicans

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    Rick Scuteri/Associated Press

    The Knicks are a fine three-point shooting, sitting 11th overall with a 37.3 percent perimeter conversion rate. They just don't lean into that strength enough (29th in average attempts), perhaps because of a lack of high-volume gunners.

    JJ Redick wouldn't hesitate to let it fly. The veteran sharpshooter had some uncharacteristic struggles early on, but he's back to being his deadeye-sniping self of late. Over his past 14 outings, he's averaging 1.8 threes on a ridiculous 49.0 percent shooting.

    As a veteran free-agent-to-be on a young Pelicans team sitting outside the playoff picture, he should be obtainable—especially to a team inside the Empire State.

    "There's now a widespread sense New Orleans is hoping to move Redick to a franchise closer to his family in Brooklyn," B/R's Jake Fischer reported.

    The Knicks could bring Redick to where he wants to be. In turn, he would help them ramp up the three-point volume. It would also be a way of giving Thibodeau his coveted win-now veteran without breaking the bank.

                        

    All stats courtesy of NBA.com and Basketball Reference unless otherwise noted.

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