New York Knicks: The earliest trade candidates so far

A handful of New York Knicks have been rumored for trades. Who does this group include?

“Trade Season” unofficially arrived on Dec. 15, featuring a handful of reports and rumors around the New York Knicks. Some of their most prominent players were mentioned, teasing a potentially intriguing lead-up to the trade deadline in February.

Three players have stood out for the trade market, becoming the earliest candidates to leave midseason:

Marcus Morris

Having a productive year on a one-year, $15 million contract, Marcus Morris is thriving as one of New York’s go-to scorers and at the defensive end. It makes him an intriguing trade candidate, and a contender like the Los Angeles Clippers is a viable suitor, as ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Zach Lowe said on their “Trade Season” special.

Whether it’s the Clippers or somewhere else, the Knicks can field offers that return draft picks. They have mostly stayed against this in recent seasons of disarray besides the Kristaps Porzingis trade, but with this year basically over, it’s worth seeking what an expiring contract like Morris’ yields in return.

Julius Randle

Per Newsday‘s Steve Popper, the Knicks are “open” to moving Julius Randle, who has another guaranteed season left on his contract. His play through this campaign’s first six weeks was disappointing, but he has since found some better ground.

However, with numbers still down from his breakout season, along with not being an expiring contract, it’s fair to wonder if the Knicks could get a worthwhile return, including draft picks or a fellow young player back.

A strong run to the trade deadline could help Randle’s value, but making that kind of deal seems unlikely, either way, with the front office’s status in doubt beyond this season. He’s a better trade candidate if a new regime takes over.

Dennis Smith Jr.

Per SNY’s Ian Begley, Dennis Smith Jr. has “several teams” interested in him; the only mentioned by name was Minnesota, who also has Jeff Teague on the market.

The New York Knicks have a packed group at point guard, with Smith Jr., Frank Ntilikina and Elfrid Payton all around. There’s no telling if any of them are the future at this position, however, and Begley noted the potential of moving at least one of the point guards.

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Still, Smith Jr.’s poor play and recent “DNP-CD” makes him an interesting buy-low candidate for another team. It would be a disappointing turnaround from being a centerpiece of the Porzingis trade, but a change of scenery can help both sides, especially as Payton reclaims the starting role.

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