Knicks Rumors: Analysis of Available Trade Options

Dec 16, 2015; New York, NY, USA; New York Knicks general manager Phil Jackson looks on during a stop in play against the Minnesota Timberwolves during the first half of an NBA basketball game at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 16, 2015; New York, NY, USA; New York Knicks general manager Phil Jackson looks on during a stop in play against the Minnesota Timberwolves during the first half of an NBA basketball game at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports /

An in-depth analysis of available trade options for the New York Knicks, including Greg Monroe, Rudy Gay, and Jahlil Okafor.

Over the past few weeks, there have been countless rumors surrounding Greg Monroe, Rudy Gay, and Jahlil Okafor. While these additions may look appealing enough on paper to excite fans and cause a ruckus, the New York Knicks, for the most part, have nothing special to offer the teams, respectively.

The only players worth giving up that have some value to potential teams are Justin Holiday and Kyle O’Quinn, though they haven’t played in this new team dynamic so its hard to judge their value to the Knicks team.

The other, and more enticing trade value New York have, are the two second-round draft picks for next year’s draft. They are also in possession of a first-rounder, but to NBA guidelines, a team cannot trade away a first rounder two years in a row (2016’s pick being traded for the unfortunate likes of Andrea Bargnani back in 2013).

Regardless of that, are the second-rounders really worth giving up?

Greg Monroe already passed on the Knicks’ max contract deal last offseason because of what Milwaukee already brought to the table, so why should New York offer him a cop-out deal now that they look more appealing with their offseason moves?

Furthermore, Sam Amico of reports that the Knicks would need to wait until at least December just to get a deal done.

"The Knicks are among the teams with an interest in available Bucks center Greg Monroe, league sources have told Amico Hoops. The Knicks would likely need a third team to help facilitate a trade for Monroe and more likely would need to wait until at least December, sources said."

If players aren’t willing to accept the challenge of building a Knicks dynasty up from scratch when first generously offered, then don’t allow them to jump on board when the team looks to be on the rise.

The main focal point of his game is his offensive presence, which is primarily due to his subpar defense and rebounding. Yet, when you have Derrick Rose, Carmelo Anthony, and Kristaps Porzingis as your main scoring options, defense and rebounding is undoubtedly in higher demand for the team’s success.

Adding to this potential welcome is the fact that I don’t visualize Joakim Noah or Monroe wanting to take a backseat role and come off the bench, which therefore will just cause negative repercussions no matter how they attempt to distribute minutes.

Noah, with his defense, hustle, passion and general spirit, will be of higher value to the team’s success than Monroe will ever be. The other hindering factor of this deal is Monroe’s salary, which cannot be matched by simply trading Justin Holiday and/or Kyle O’Quinn.

I know this story is factually based on rumors by NBA reporter Sam Amico, but if the Knicks are seriously considering including one of their new acquisitions like Noah or a European rookie in the trade, then the organization truly hasn’t learnt from their history of past mistakes.

A three-team deal is the only likely way this deal could go down and regardless of who else is included in the deal, New York should still only consider including Holiday and O’Quinn. Or better yet, don’t do the deal.

I also believe Rudy Gay is a relatively bad option to go for. The Knicks already have Lance Thomas and the newly acquired Euro swingman Mindaugas Kuzminskas, who from scouting videos looks to be quite impressive in his own regard as he plays well off the ball, which is something New York should definitely incorporate into their system rather than disregard.

Why trade role players in less deep positions (SG and PF) who know the system and team already for an inconsistent small forward to play behind ‘Melo, which I don’t see him wanting to do, while killing the growth of Kuzminskas and confidence of Lance Thomas?

Gay is available, but for what cost?

His versatility is apparently his selling point, as he can produce on both offense and defense and has the ability to step into the power forward role when needed to, however this is mostly misconstrued and rather a liability.

He is a solid sporadic defender who, with his athleticism and length, leaves much to be desired.

As for his offense, he seems to enjoy taking contested shots, rather than looking for quality shots. Furthermore, he only looked good last year when playing off Rajon Rondo, who has the unnatural ability to make anyone look good.

At the power forward position, which I understand can be a hard transition for any similar player, it is really no different. He tends to get lost on defense and isn’t strong enough to body the big men and make an impact.

Ultimately, the small forward position isn’t something that needs to be largely focused on for now, especially trading wise.

Now as for the Jahlil Okafor rumors, they genuinely garnered my curiosity. He is young, has dominant post presence, offensive tools and a strong upside. His defense and floor running still isn’t as strong as that of his front court partner, Nerlens Noel, but with the right coaching, guidance and leadership, that aspect can grow steadily.

He may have had off-court altercations last season, which has already tarnished his trade value according to Boston. Though under the leadership of current Team USA captain Carmelo Anthony and former MVP Derrick Rose, Okafor can have the guidance I’m sure he didn’t truly get in Philadelphia.

In a testament to the dysfunction in Philadelphia, the Okafor trade rumors started as early as February of his rookie year.

Again, the Knicks should only have Holiday, O’Quinn and draft picks to give up, whereas the reportedly ‘interested’ Celtics have much more to offer. I can agree the Celtics are definite front-runners, and possibly even the Bulls, who could move Taj Gibson for the 76ers big man.

Despite all that, if New York can offer Holiday, O’Quinn, and one draft pick for Okafor, I say go for it. It’s a long shot, but definitely worth it if Lance Stephenson is in the mix, as I hope he is.

That deal would instantly beef up the Knicks’ bench as they would have a genuine low-post scorer who would be more inclined to accept a bench role on a better team, more so than a proven starter in Monroe, with the addition of learning defensive strategies and positioning from Noah. 

The now sophomore center averaged 17.5 points, 7.0 rebounds, 1.2 blocks during his rookie season while shooting an impressive 50.8 percent from the field.

The 2017 NBA draft is supposedly stacked with talent and ‘future NBA stars.’ With the right scouting, I’m sure a couple of raw young talents with strong upside that slip down into the second round will be found.

Which makes me only believe more that unless the Knicks are trading for a solidified NBA star or one with potential like Okafor, they should just hold onto the picks.

Everyone saw how poorly the Knicks organization incorporated draft picks into past trades with the win-now mentality. I just don’t believe I, or anyone else for that matter, should have to go through another draft, while team after team select young talent who we could be something special with the right guidance, regardless if we already have one first rounder set in stone.

The fans don’t want a repeat of the Eddy Curry situation. For those who don’t remember, the Knicks gave up Tim Thomas and two first-round picks (2006 and 2007), which turned out to be picks two and nine in those drafts, in return for a weight fluctuating Eddy Curry.

Those picks, if sticking to the actual selection order, turned out to be LaMarcus Aldridge in 2006 and Joakim Noah in 2007. What a difference to the Knicks’ history that would have been.

I understand they were both first rounds picks rather than second round picks, but the issue still remains. No matter what the pick is, it will allow a young and raw player to develop into a system that they will for one become familiar with, and two will have time to adjust and grow into the NBA. Rather than trade for a player that more than likely isn’t jelling for their current team who may also be on the downside of their career, depending on the player of course.

Obviously, more faith is instilled in Phil Jackson than Isaiah Thomas if we compare the two’s history in coaching and head of operations, though the fans can never be too worried with any decision or deal made by the organization.

If you are reading this Phil Jackson, please don’t give the critics any reasons to speak. The upcoming picks are simply too valuable to the teams hopeful future success to be simply traded away for what appears to be a dignified move by NBA talent standards.

I’m not going to delve into the players of the upcoming draft and give any indication of who the Knicks should look to pick, as most of the top recruits are still in high school and haven’t played a minute of college basketball yet. High school basketball doesn’t truly show much of a player other than their style of play (passer, shooter, post scorer, etc…) in spurts or their athleticism in this day and age.

There is rarely any defensive or offensive structure in high school, nor that great of talent on the one court (unlike college), so any player with decent athletic ability just runs up and down the floor dunking and making easy uncontested layups.

High school courts are obviously shorter than they should be, noticeably with the 3-point line touching free throw line extended, which usually makes players look like decent shooters from 3, until they reach college and NBA and mostly turn streaky at best.

I’m sure basketball fans can all think of a player or two that has been a top scouted high school player, yet in college or the NBA, didn’t amount to what he was projected to be; Kwame Brown, for instance.

must read: Lance Stephenson is the missing piece

I’m not attempting to bash high school players as it may seem; I’m just enlightening the fact that until a player has played a decent amount of games in college, or has the skill and build that LeBron James did in high school, it’s just too early to put expectations on them like most people do, as it can really hinder their growth and performance, not to mention their egos.