Whatever the New York Knicks were planning to do at the trade deadline, that plan changed after Julius Randle went down with a dislocated right shoulder. At least the front office can upgrade the roster with a trade rather than stick it out and wait for Randle to return.
The Knicks' depth at forward was lacking even before Randle got hurt, which is why New York turned to Taj Gibson (again) for insurance. He's on a 10-day contract, so the Knicks could still make a trade over the next week to bolster the frontcourt.
SNY's David Vertsberger reported that New York "covets" a young forward in the Western Conference but that a trade could mean losing Quentin Grimes.
"New York reportedly covets Tari Eason, but that might take a one-for-one with Grimes, leaving them thin at the guard position. However, they could pair that with an Evan Fournier trade to upgrade the backcourt, filling all the holes."- David Vertsberger, SNY
Knicks reportedly interested in Rockets forward Tari Eason
As Vertsberger noted, a Grimes-Eason swap would work, but that'd mean New York would be without one of its bench guards. No, that wouldn't give Evan Fournier a path to return to the rotation, but his salary could be used to get another ball handler.
Eason is averaging 9.8 points, 7.0 rebounds, and 1.4 steals per game, shooting 46.6% from the field and 36% from three. He's played in only 22 contests because he dealt with a stress fracture that he suffered in a preseason matchup, and it is still an injury he's dealing with. He last played on Jan. 1.
The 22-year-old was drafted No. 17 overall in 2022 and made the NBA All-Rookie Second Team last season. It's not a question of whether or not the potential is there. However, the question is, would he be able to contribute during the last few months of the regular season? What about the playoffs? If Randle can return (and the belief is he will), will Eason turn into the next Obi Toppin? Tom Thibodeau isn't a developmental coach, and the Knicks are poised to make a postseason run.
New York shouldn't gamble on an Eason trade, especially if it means losing Grimes. He's been a solid rotation player for the Knicks, especially as of late. Is that a role Eason would be able to take on?
The Rockets are a team that's expressed interest in Grimes, so it likely wouldn't be that difficult to get a deal done. The Knicks need to stay away, though!
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