Grade the Trade: Knicks reunite Thibs with star, get Brunson help in new pitch

The New York Knicks lost a war of attrition in the NBA Playoffs. Can they make an offseason trade to reunite Thibodeau with a former star?
New York Knicks, Tom Thibodeau
New York Knicks, Tom Thibodeau / Maddie Meyer/GettyImages
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The New York Knicks proved to the league and to themselves that they have a team ready to compete in the Eastern Conference.

They lost in the second round to the Indiana Pacers, falling in Game 7 against the most efficient offensive game in NBA playoff history. That there was even a Game 7, given the wave of injuries the Knicks had endured, was a feat in and of itself. Julius Randle, Mitchell Robinson, Bojan Bogdanovic, OG Anunoby, Josh Hart and ultimately Jalen Brunson all went down during the playoff run. That's an entire playoff rotation.

As the Knicks get healthy going into next season, it's reasonable to have confidence in the current roster to make waves and compete at the top of the East. At the same time, the one thing that getting healthy won't accomplish is finding a second offensive star to pair with Brunson and elevate this team to the highest level. Having Randle would have helped, but his brand of relatively inefficient scoring isn't what is needed to push the Knicks into title contention.

The New York Knicks need to get Jalen Brunson some help

Jalen Brunson was phenomenal in the playoffs, setting all manner of scoring records and carrying the shot-creation load for the Knicks. What he needs is a partner to shift defensive attention away or to destroy defenses when they continue to bring two to defend Brunson. At the same time, the Knicks need to be careful not to add a player who brings that shot creation while simultaneously causing a defensive weakness.

The perfect fit may just be hitting the trade market this summer as he negotiates a new contract extension with his current team. A longtime Tom Thibodeau player earlier in his career, this player is a proven playoff scorer and fits the Knicks' current identity perfectly.

That player is Jimmy Butler. Let's look more closely at what a trade with the Miami Heat could look like and whether the Knicks should pull the trigger.