3 Trade Targets for Knicks to Pursue at 2022 Deadline

Zach Buckley@@ZachBuckleyNBANational NBA Featured ColumnistJanuary 27, 2022

3 Trade Targets for Knicks to Pursue at 2022 Deadline

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    The New York Knicks have a major decision to make between now and the Feb. 10 NBA trade deadline.

    Will they push for something more this season, or is selling suddenly an option for the sub-.500 squad?

    With a win-now coach in Tom Thibodeau and all of the good vibes that last year's playoff run created, the former seems most likely. Maybe that changes over the next couple of weeks, but from the present vantage point, the 'Bockers will probably buy, not sell, during swap season.

    Accounting for the Knicks' needs on both ends of the floor, the following three players seem logical targets.

Jalen Brunson, Dallas Mavericks

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    Remember the old hole the Knicks had at the point guard spot? Yeah, it's still there.

    The Knicks could scratch that itch and address a need for more shot-creation with a trade for Jalen Brunson.

    The son of former Knicks floor general, Rick Brunson, the 25-year-old is currently dazzling alongside Luka Doncic in Dallas. But unrestricted free agency awaits him at season's end, and the Mavs might not want to stomach what should be a substantial raise for the 6'1" scorer and playmaker.

    Brunson is up to a career-high 15.8 points per game on 50 percent shooting, and while his three-ball has tailed off (32.8 percent), it was excellent just last season (81 triples at a 40.5-percent clip).

    The fact that he can work both on and off the ball and digs in defensively could help him cover up a lot of the cracks in this lineup.

Robert Covington, Portland Trail Blazers

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    The Knicks leaned heavily into the offensive end this offseason. Given how badly their reliance on Julius Randle to manufacture something out of nothing was exposed in last year's playoffs, it seemed a sensible approach.

    What New York really needs, though, are balanced contributors. That's where Robert Covington could make his mark.

    The artist formerly known as Bobby Buckets hasn't quite lived up to the moniker with his field-goal percentage slipping south of 40, but his catch-and-fire three-ball is what should excite the Knicks. He's not lethal in the truest sense of the word, but he's above 35 percent for his career and cleared 37 percent two of the past three seasons.

    Defensively, the 31-year-old is more of a chaos-creator than a lockdown defender, but timely steals and blocks can help both the defense and the offense, since they often generate transition opportunities.

    If Portland takes the seller's route—an obvious move if it ever shuts down Damian Lillard for the season—New York should be on the horn quickly to make a call on Covington.

Myles Turner, Indiana Pacers

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    If the Knicks are willing to put a premium asset on the table, then they can afford to chase a premium target.

    Myles Turner is reportedly in the crosshairs of the Knicks and a slew of other win-now shoppers, according to The Athletic's Shams Charania.

    Now, that report surfaced before word came that the 25-year-old had a stress reaction in his left foot, so perhaps interest has cooled a bit. Still, as long as there are no long-term concerns, it could be a robust market for the skilled shot-blocker and floor-spacer.

    Adding the Texas alum would up the paint protection on New York's back line since he's bulkier than Nerlens Noel (250 lbs to Noel's 220) and more polished than Mitchell Robinson.

    Turner also has something those centers don't in terms of a reliable three-point shot (career 34.9 percent), which would not only give the Knicks another offensive weapon but also potentially perk up their attacks by widening the lanes for penetrations and cuts.