3 Knicks who are expendable and 2 they can't afford to trade

Julius Randle, RJ Barrett and Quentin Grimes, New York Knicks
Julius Randle, RJ Barrett and Quentin Grimes, New York Knicks / Elsa/GettyImages
2 of 5

No. 4: Immanuel Quickley is invaluable

The New York Knicks are probably going to trade Immanuel Quickley.

Positionally, he overlaps with the Knicks' star player. Both he and Brunson are point guards, and playing together makes the Knicks extremely small in the backcourt. That's why Quickley averages just 24.2 minutes per game despite being a Top-25 point guard in the league. He holds more value to a team that wants him to be their starting point guard than he does to the Knicks as primarily a backup.

At the same time, Quickley has undeniably been one of the Knicks' best players this season, and yanking him out of the rotation would make the Knicks a worse team. He's averaging 15 points per game as he comes off the bench and injects electricity into the Knicks' attack. He leads the league in scoring among players averaging less than 25 minutes per game. The Knicks don't have another option to bring that level of scoring off the bench.

For most teams with a star point guard, his backup ends up with depressed on/off numbers for replacing a star. That's not the case with Quickley, as the Knicks improve by 2.7 points per 100 possessions when he checks into the game, per Cleaning the Glass. Specifically, the offense takes a massive step forward, and he often leads the second unit in demolishing opponents.

Quickley's value to the Knicks doesn't mean they will keep him, or perhaps even that they should keep him. What it does mean is that they can't move him in a small deal that is meant to save the Knicks from signing him to a major contract when he hits restricted free agency next summer; if they are going to trade Quickley, it has to be in a blockbuster deal for a star player who significantly upgrades this team. Anything less, and they are likely giving up just as much as they are getting back.

It's not out of the question that Quickley may be the second-best player on the roster, and the Knicks need to keep that in mind during trade negotiations.