It’s the time of the season where the New York Knicks need to make a push if they want any shot at the postseason.
As expected, however, the New York Knicks haven’t given any reason for optimism and will be looking to start building for the future at the trade deadline. New York needs a lot. The issue is, other than the 2021 and 2023 first-round picks from the Kristaps Porzingis trade, the Knicks don’t have much to offer.
They don’t seem like realistic trade partners with very many teams at all come deadline time, but a recent rumor appears to make sense: Karl-Anthony Towns. Part of the reason this rumor makes sense is that there have been recent reports of the Timberwolves being interested in Dennis Smith Jr. There have also been rumors that ‘DSJ’ is interested in leaving New York due to the Knicks liking their new signing of Point Guard Elfrid Payton. To further speculation, Smith has been missing games recently, and some of them being listed as ‘Coach’s Decisions.’
Towns grew up in Jersey, as a huge Knicks fan. We’ve heard this story before, as local stars like Kyrie Irving and Kemba Walker have looked like all but locks for the Knicks to go to rival teams. However, the T-Wolves may be seriously looking to move ‘KAT,’ as their experiment they began a few years back with him, as well as the likes of players like Andrew Wiggins and Jeff Teague, has yielded little success.
The Knicks’ new formula has failed miserably this season. While DSJ is a good player with lots of upsides, it hasn’t led to any wins yet, and they may want to use him to make a change. With the struggling state of the Knicks’ franchise in these last two decades, it’s fair to say the Wolves will be looking to gather a considerable return for KAT from New York.
To do this, it may take more than just DSJ and the two picks from the Porzingis trade for this to go through. They’ll need to trade another piece to acquire another future draft pick if they want to have enough. This may mean that the trade will need to wait till the offseason, but that’s no problem for the Knicks, as this season’s all but lost anyway.
There’s not much other trade bait for the team to make this happen, but there is one last hope: Marcus Morris. Morris has been solid his whole career and is having the best year of his career. Many playoff-contending buyers at the deadline may be interested in a forward who’s shooting 46.1% from beyond the arc, as well as averaging 18.6 points per game.
If the Knicks could use this leverage for a future first-round draft pick, they may have enough of a package for Towns. Both Minnesota and New York are desperate for a change, and the T-Wolves would be gathering lots of potential young talent, while the Knicks would finally be getting the star power they’ve needed.
This package isn’t enough for Damian Lillard, another star surrounded with trade rumors, but probably too much for another player supposedly on the block like Jrue Holiday. Towns, along with a developing R.J. Barrett and another lottery pick, could give the Knicks something real, as long as they have the right coach.
This way, they have something to build on regardless of if they cash in on the Giannis Antetokounmpo sweepstakes come summer ‘21. A change needs to happen, and it starts with setting themselves up with leverage for a blockbuster deal come summertime 2020.
The upside this team acquired in the offseason isn’t working out to any extent, and trading for a proven piece to build around will be tough, but doable if the front office makes a move this winter.