The New York Knicks did the unthinkable, or what used to be the unthinkable. On Dec. 30, New York sent RJ Barrett and Immanuel Quickley to Toronto. Forty days after that, the Knicks traded Quentin Grimes to the Pistons. Just like that, three of the organization's homegrown players are gone.
This time last year, Knicks fans were adamantly against any trade involving Barrett, Quickley, or Grimes. An Obi Toppin trade was tough enough to think about, and it hadn't even happened yet.
Between Barrett, Quickley, and Grimes, the biggest shock should've been trading the 2019 lottery pick. After he signed a four-year extension in 2022, the belief was that Barrett was the face of the franchise. He was supposed to be the leader of the Knicks for a long time.
Life comes at you fast because a year and a half after Barrett signed that extension, New York flipped him and Quickley for OG Anunoby. Between that duo, Quickley's absence has been felt the most. It took a little over a month for the Knicks to fill the scoring void he left behind on the bench, and they did so using Grimes.
Knicks made hard, yet necessary trades involving Barrett, Quickley, and Grimes
Leon Rose and the front office turned their young trio into Anunoby, Precious Achiuwa, Malachi Flynn (who has since been traded), Bojan Bogdanovic, and Alec Burks.
Anunoby is a better fit in New York than Barrett, which isn't a knock against the former Knick. The 26-year-old wing is a much better off-ball player, which makes things easier for Jalen Brunson and Julius Randle. New York went from having one of the worst defenses in the league in December to the best in January after acquiring Anunoby.
It's a trade that worked out for Barrett and Quickley, too. The former is back in his hometown, while the latter has gotten an opportunity to be the starting point guard, which wasn't going to happen in New York with Brunson in the way.
Grimes' third season in the league hasn't gone as hoped, so it makes sense why the front office was willing to part with him at the deadline. Donte DiVincenzo had already replaced him in the starting lineup, which quickly paid off. Grimes will be eligible to sign a rookie-scale extension over the summer, so it was best for the Knicks to move off him for win-now players (subscription required).
New York's front office is the best in the league, a fact that is still hard for some non-Knicks fans to accept. Not only was trading Barrett, Quickley, and Grimes the right decision, but the moves helped the team to become a legitimate contender without having a "true" superstar.
It's still bittersweet to see Barrett and Quickley in Raptors jerseys, and it'll take some time to get used to seeing Grimes in a Pistons one, but the Knicks are better off.