New York Knicks Trade Analysis From Swap With Oklahoma City Thunder and Cleveland Cavaliers


New York Knicks Trade Analysis: Check out our breakdown of the three-team trade between the Knicks, Cleveland Cavaliers and Oklahoma City Thunder.

The New York Knicks roster shakeup is underway, as they completed a three-team deal involving the Cleveland Cavaliers and Oklahoma City Thunder. In total there were six players and two draft picks exchanged between the three teams. The pieces involved give a clear indication of what direction each of the teams are moving in, as the Knicks are in full rebuilding mode, while the Thunder and Cavaliers are in win-now mode, believing they are contenders.

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Here are the pieces on the move:

New York Knicks trade SG Iman Shumpert and SG J.R. Smith to Cleveland and waive Samuel Dalembert.

Cleveland Cavaliers trade C Alex Kirk, F Louis Amundson, 2019 2nd round pick to Knicks; trade SG Dion Waiters to Thunder.

Oklahoma City Thunder Trade: F Lance Thomas to Knicks; Protected Future 1st Round Pick to Cavaliers.

As you can see, there are plenty of moving parts here. As for the Knicks, it is pretty clear what their intentions were in this one. For starters, it shows they didn’t have any real interest in re-signing Shumpert this offseason, instead focusing on gaining as much salary cap space as they possibly can; in other words, this move was strictly a salary dump.

To rid themselves of the $6.4 million that is owed to J.R. Smith for next season, they had to move sweeten the deal and add Shumpert in. Shumpert is the player the Cavaliers wanted, but the Knicks were not going to move him without attaching a piece they no longer wanted.

For this season alone, the Knicks will save over $20 million in salary and luxury taxes by trading Shumpert and Smith and releasing the non-guaranteed contract of Dalembert’s. The three players they received, Thomas, Kirk and Amundson, all have non-guarantee contracts as well, and will be free agents before Saturday when all non-guaranteed contracts become guaranteed.

This is more than likely the first of many moves the Knicks will make leading up to the February 19th trade deadline. Until then, they will more than likely fill their roster out with younger players from the D-League, with two popular options being Thanasis Antetokounmpo and Langston Galloway. The rest of the season will be a chance for younger players to showcase their talents as the remainder of the 2014-2015 season will be an extended tryouts for anyone playing on the Knicks.

Early rumors when news first broke was that the Knicks were going to receive Thunder G Reggie Jackson, but those talks deteriorated once the Thunder began pushing for a draft pick in return. Rightfully so, the Knicks resisted adding a draft pick, instead just taking the salary relief; if they really are truly interested in bringing Jackson aboard, they can do it in the offseason when he is a free agent without surrendering a future draft pick, which is a very good asset for a team to have that is in the position the Knicks are.

So essentially the Knicks moved two serviceable players for hope and optimism again, much like when they purged their roster in 2009, trading the likes of Jamal Crawford and Zach Randolph for a chance at signing LeBron James in the summer. Yes the Knicks are 5-32 after their loss to the Memphis Grizzlies tonight, but in Shumpert and Smith the Knicks knew what they have; now the Knicks are going in blind hoping to have a better turnout than in 2010.

The difference this time is that the Knicks have a draft pick as well to go with all their cap space, as this trade will leave them with nearly $30 million in money to spend, along with two trade exceptions they received for Shumpert and Smith. You would hope Phil Jackson has a plan A, B and C in place, as Knicks fans know as well as anyone that things do not always go as you hope.

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