How would Knicks fans feel about this 3-team Deandre Ayton trade?

DeAndre Ayton, New York Knicks. Photo by Elsa/Getty Images
DeAndre Ayton, New York Knicks. Photo by Elsa/Getty Images /
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New York Knicks
DeAndre Ayton, Phoenix Suns. Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images /

Grading the Knicks on a trade for Ayton

On a purely performance-based evaluation, this is not a slam dunk trade for the Knicks. Ayton has had a bumpy season thus far and Barton has been downright bad, while Robinson is having an excellent year. Yet, looking at the bigger picture, this deal starts to make more sense.

Having a non-shooter on the floor is much more palatable at center than at power forward, and swapping Randle out for Ayton moves that inside game to the 5 and opens the lineup for a floor-spacer at the 4. Randle’s money is much more onerous than Ayton’s, especially since Ayton is 24 years old and Randle is 28.

The Wizards stand out as one of the teams most likely to covet Randle, and this construction uses Randle’s contract to bring in a different player than what the Wizards can offer. The Knicks would still have Isaiah Hartenstein to back up Ayton and could give more run to Obi Toppin and even RJ Barrett at the 4.

It seems like Ayton’s inconsistency this season is more a product of the turmoil in Phoenix and the vote of no confidence the organization has placed in him, and if so buying him “low” could be a way for the Knicks to make a big improvement. It’s not a risk-free move, but the upside is tantalizing.

Grade: B

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