Knicks' Last-Minute Trade Targets Before 2021 NBA Deadline

Zach Buckley@@ZachBuckleyNBANational NBA Featured ColumnistMarch 23, 2021

Knicks' Last-Minute Trade Targets Before 2021 NBA Deadline

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    Tony Dejak/Associated Press

    Wishful thinking has often guided the New York Knicks' activity at this time of year.

    This time around, though, the Bockers sport a near-.500 record and can entertain the playoff dreams that type of performance affords. That makes them likely buyers ahead of Thursday's NBA trade deadline.

    New York hinted at its strategy when it traded for Derrick Rose in February, and if it makes more moves between now and 3 p.m. ET on Thursday, these are three potential targets to watch.

Lonzo Ball, New Orleans Pelicans

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    Matthew Hinton/Associated Press

    The last great Knicks point guard was...Walt Frazier? OK, we're (half) joking, but it's been a minute since New York employed a top-shelf ball-mover.

    That should have the Knicks hot on the heels of Lonzo Ball. He's a natural floor general who doesn't need to take many shots to have an impact—exactly the kind of player you would want alongside RJ Barrett and Julius Randle.

    Ball is also an upcoming restricted free agent, which might give the New Orleans Pelicans reason to consider moving him. If they make that decision, the Knicks should make the first phone call to get him as they have "always kept an eye" on him, per Marc Berman of the New York Post.

    As impressive as rookie Immanuel Quickley has been, he's not much of a playmaker. Adding Ball would scratch that itch, and there's enough size, shooting and defense between them to share the same backcourt.

Victor Oladipo, Houston Rockets

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    Nell Redmond/Associated Press

    Let's start with a caveat: The Knicks should only pursue Victor Oladipo at the right price.

    He's yet to regain his All-Star form since suffering a ruptured quadriceps tendon in January 2019, and he's ticketed for unrestricted free agency after this season. Those should be basketball's equivalent to the dented-can discount at your local grocer.

    If Oladipo could be had for relatively cheap, then New York should make the move. He might be searching for his shot, but he's still a plucky defender at the point of attack and a slippery ball-handler who can break down defenders and find open teammates. He may not be the player he was (yet), but he's still a nightly supplier of 20.8 points, 5.0 rebounds and 4.7 assists.

    He would make the Knicks better than they are without him, perhaps in significant fashion. Right now, they are hoping to get past (or navigate around) the play-in tournament. Bring the good Oladipo to town without disrupting the rotation to get him, and maybe this team pushes its ceiling into the second round.

JJ Redick, New Orleans Pelicans

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    Gerald Herbert/Associated Press

    Only two teams average fewer triples than New York's 10.6 per game. On a related note, just one takes fewer long-range shots than the Knicks' 28.4.

    You could perhaps insert a joke here about coach Tom Thibodeau taking an outdated view of the offensive end, but really it just points to a lack of high-volume, high-efficiency three-point threats in the rotation.

    JJ Redick is about as high-volume, high-efficiency as it gets beyond the arc. Over his 15-year NBA career, the veteran sniper has averaged 2.1 threes on 41.5 percent shooting. For context, the Knicks only have one shooter averaging 2.0 triples (Reggie Bullock) and just one clearing 40 percent from three at any significant volume (Julius Randle).

    Redick would be a dream get, both for his ability to bury the long ball and attract defensive attention when he's motoring around away from the basketball. He's also reportedly interested in getting to the Empire State, per Marc Berman of the New York Post, as Redick's family resides in Brooklyn.


    Statistics used courtesy of Basketball Reference and Salary information obtained via Basketball Insiders.