Knicks trade rumors: Predicting which players are moved first

A look at predicting the potential order of New York Knicks that are traded before the deadline.

The New York Knicks are just six weeks from the 2020 NBA trade deadline when the clock strikes for teams to make their final trades of the regular season. The wheeling and dealing reopen in the offseason.

A handful of players have been rumored to potentially depart the Knicks via trade. With everything slowly building, who could become the first to move before the February deadline? Let’s take a look:

First: Dennis Smith Jr.

Reports of Dennis Smith Jr.’s eventual departure from New York have piled up around the holidays. His first full season with the team has been a struggle, producing career-low marks across the board. Couple that with a fluctuating role behind Frank Ntilikina and Elfrid Payton, and everything has worked against the 22 year old.

With the situation continuing to devolve, and an oblique injury now sidelining him, Smith Jr. makes sense to become the first player to go. The Knicks can accommodate his desire to go and clear up their point guard situation simultaneously. It’s best for both sides.

Smith Jr. can move on to a more consistent role, and Ntilikina and Payton can continue to be evaluated. The latter two have thrived in bursts for the Knicks, so it’s worth taking a longer look at what they could do.

Second: Allonzo Trier

There have been no reports on this, and it’s simply speculation.

Allonzo Trier‘s second season with the Knicks is at an arm’s length from his first year. He broke out as an undrafted free agent, on a two-way contract, shining in the backcourt in 2018-19. Now, under two different coaches, he can’t find a role off the end of the bench.

Trier’s $3.5 million salary is low for a potential trade. Plus, a team can take a flier for the rest of the season, before he hits restricted free agency and tests the open market. That chance can happen with a rebuilding team; someone who will provide consistent minutes for the rest of the season.

There’s a case for the Knicks to be that team, and him moving is certainly not a foregone conclusion, but with a full roster and other young players ahead, Trier might fair better with a change of scenery.

Last: Marcus Morris

For the player with the most trade value, Marcus Morris projects to become the last player moved. That’s due to his role as the Knicks’ most consistent player, from the season opener to now, and the team potentially waiting until the trade deadline for more lucrative offers.

If the Knicks wait as long as possible to move Morris, there’s no doubt, he becomes the last player to leave. He holds value to them in the meantime, as the team tries to remain competitive amid a disastrous season. Trading the veteran forward now depletes the roster and sinks them even faster, making another 17-65 season likely, if not inevitable.