As the NBA trade deadline approaches, the Knicks have been linked to guards around the league who could be dealt. One of these names includes Jordan Clarkson, the former Sixth Man of the Year.
With Clarkson being one of the more prominent names on New York's target list, a lot of good can come from acquiring the 31-year-old. However, there are also things to look out for that can hurt the Knicks down the road.
Pro: HUGE offensive boost for the bench
Clarkson is known to be one of the best bench threats in the league, and with the Knicks lacking in offense from non-starters, this trade would certainly make their team more complete. The nine-year veteran is averaging 18.3 points and 5.1 assists on 42-32-89 shooting splits and, as mentioned earlier, has a Sixth Man of the Year award under his belt.
Speaking of the Knicks bench, since trading RJ Barrett and Immanuel Quickley for OG Anunoby, the second unit ranks 25th in offensive rating (50.5). As for the defense, they're second in the league (50.2), so it's clear that getting a scoring guard balances out the lineup and certainly makes the team more complete.
Con: Harder to acquire a superstar in future (AKA Donovan Mitchell)
Reports have come out saying that trade talks with Utah have stalled because Danny Ainge wants valuable draft compensation from New York, along with 23-year-old guard Quentin Grimes.
Leon Rose could give up Grimes, Evan Fournier (to balance out salaries), and multiple first-round picks to compensate for Fournier's remaining $18.8 million before his team option this summer. The Jazz could pick up his option and give him another $19 million in 2024-25, but that'd be unlikely.
Giving up picks means getting rid of assets the Knicks could use in a larger trade for an even bigger star. Donovan Mitchell has been rumored to have a desire to go to New York if he wants out of Cleveland, but if the Knicks give up picks that hold great value for Clarkson, it makes it harder to acquire the All-NBA talent.
Grimes is the best "young" asset they have off the bench, which means that if he's gone to Utah, Cleveland is likely asking for multiple picks plus a player like Mitchell Robinson AND Donte DiVincenzo. A Clarkson trade hurts their leverage and their chances of making a smooth trade for a superstar if Grimes and Fournier are unavailable.
Should the Knicks still go after Spida? Absolutely. However, it only makes trade talks harder, and the Cavs would definitely want a young piece if they don't find the future first-round picks valuable. If Mitchell is gone, Cleveland would likely want young players anyway, and the best players New York could give up aren't exactly young right now.
This can change as time goes on, but getting rid of Grimes, who Utah originally wanted when they had D-Mitch, makes it harder for the Knicks to successfully pull off a deal when other teams in the league have better assets.
Pro: Much-needed experience as the playoffs approach
Aside from stats, what is most intriguing about Clarkson's potential impact for this Knicks squad is his experience. He was a key player in helping the Cavaliers and Jazz get into the playoffs and had a Finals appearance in 2018. He would certainly provide veteran leadership for a bench with an average age of 25.
The last time Clarkson played in the postseason, he averaged 17.5 points on 40.6% shooting from the field. That would take the load off of scorers like Jalen Brunson and Julius Randle.
Con: Clarkson's contract, plus the rest of the team
There is a risk that comes with trading for 00, as he is currently in the last year of his four-year, $51.5 million contract before becoming an unrestricted free agent. If the Knicks acquire him, they will have to pay him months later.
What makes it even harder for Rose is that Anunoby is eligible for an extension with a player option this summer. Plus, Isaiah Hartenstein is an unrestricted free agent once the season is over, and he will no doubt want to get paid. There's a good chance that one of these players will be let go.