As we near the NBA Trade Deadline rumors about what the New York Knicks are going to do are swirling. What the Knicks are ultimately going to do became even more unclear after today’s firing of President of Basketball Operations Steve Mills. One thing that is becoming clear though is that Knicks point guard Dennis Smith Jr. is generating trade buzz around the league.
There are multiple teams that are reportedly interested in trading for the young point guard and it might be in the Knicks best interest to ship him out of New York.
Smith is the last remaining player on the Knicks from trade that sent Kristaps Porzingis, Tim Hardaway Jr. and Courtney Lee to the Dallas Mavericks last season. When Smith was acquired by the Knicks he was a budding young star and a potential franchise point guard.
After this season that couldn’t be farther from the truth.
Going into this season Dennis Smith Jr. was poised to have a breakout year but in all honestly showed regression from last year. Smith has had a hard time seeing action this season due to injuries, a low number of minutes and just overall poor play. Smith is averaging just 5.6 PPG playing 16 minutes a game which by any means is underperforming.
Even with his poor play, this season Smith is still a sought after trade candidate for many teams in the league that need depth at the point guard position. Smith is still a young point guard and could turn his career around with the right coaching staff and a scenery change. The Knicks could get a first-round pick in return from the right team.
Last season the Bucks were interested in acquiring Smith before he was traded to the Knicks and could be a potential suitor again. The Bucks do need depth at point guard and may look to acquire Smith if the price is right
The Minnesota Timberwolves are another team that could be interested in acquiring Smith by Thursday’s deadline. The Timberwolves have been known to be looking for a point guard especially after trading Jeff Teague back to the Atlanta Hawks. The Timberwolves have made trading for D’Angelo Russell a priority and have been engaging in trade talks with the Warriors over a potential trade for some time now. Russell is their main target but if they can get him Smith would be a good fallback.
The most likely landing spot for Smith is the Orlando Magic. If Smith heads to Orlando he will without a doubt get more playing time then he’s getting in New York as their point guard rotation is weak. The Magic has a plethora of young talent on the team with Aaron Gordan, Mo Bamba and Markelle Fultz which can only be bolstered with the addition of Smith. Markelle Fultz has looked revitalized this season and Dennis Smith Jr could really benefit from playing off of a player like Fultz.
The Magic could see this as a low risk, high reward move with Smith still having the potential to be a very good point guard. The Knicks should look to acquire a future first-round pick or a veteran player such as D.J. Augustin.
The Dennis Smith Jr. experiment is looking like a disaster on New York’s side and for Smith. The Knicks aren’t getting the production that they thought they’d get out of him and Smith isn’t getting the playing time to prove himself from them. By the looks of it, a mutual departure would probably be best for both parties.