Quentin Grimes saw writing on the wall before Knicks-Pistons trade

Quentin Grimes will return to MSG on Monday as a visitor.
New York Knicks, Quentin Grimes
New York Knicks, Quentin Grimes / Scott Taetsch/GettyImages

In an expected yet still shocking move, the New York Knicks traded Quentin Grimes to the Pistons on Feb. 8. A couple of months before, the third-year guard was removed from the starting lineup in favor of free agency signing Donte DiVincenzo.

This time last year, Grimes had a few months under his belt after he replaced Evan Fournier in the starting lineup. He was tasked with defending the opposing team's best player, something he does well at. He finished the regular season averaging a career-high 11.3 points per game, shooting 46.8% from the field and 38.6% from three.

Grimes was tabbed by many as the Knicks player most likely to have a breakout 2023-24 season. Unfortunately, he started the year slow and couldn't recover from it. He expressed frustrations with his role in December. In the 45 games he played for New York before being traded, he averaged 20.2 minutes per contest, down from the 29.9 per game he averaged last season.

The Pistons parted ways with Bojan Bogdanovic and Alec Burks without receiving a first-round pick in return. However, in Grimes, Detroit did get a young, promising guard in the process.

Quentin Grimes reveals he knew Knicks were going to trade him before deadline

Grimes will return to MSG on Monday when the Knicks host the Pistons. Not only is it his first time back in New York since the trade, but it'll be his second game with Detroit. Before he was traded, he was sidelined with a knee sprain that cost him a few games. The same injury cost him his first few games with the Pistons.

New York Post's Stefan Bondy caught up with Grimes before Monday's game, and the guard revealed that he knew he would be traded a couple of days before Feb. 8.

"I knew it was going to happen. I didn’t know it would be Detroit. It was a few teams,” Grimes said. “But I knew it was going to happen, for sure."

Quentin Grimes, via New York Post

Tom Thibodeau went from regularly praising Grimes last season to treating him as more of an afterthought this season. The 23-year-old is eligible to sign an extension this summer. Rather than let the situation play out like Immanuel Quickley's, the Knicks cut ties with Grimes. It cost the team a good defender but will benefit New York when the playoffs roll around with Bodganovic's shooting.

Grimes won't have to worry about competing for playing time in Detroit like he did in New York, as the Pistons are the worst team in the league. He's part of a very young roster and has a better chance to prove himself. Knicks fans will always look back on Grimes' two-and-a-half years in New York and think about what could've been.