3 Kemba Walker trade packages Knicks could entertain before NBA deadline

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Kemba Walker treated image, bending over with hands on knees and smiling
Kemba Walker treated image, bending over with hands on knees and smiling

The NBA trade deadline is on Feb. 10, leaving limited time for teams to maneuver their rosters in whichever direction they please before the playoffs and offseason.

The Knicks are fighting for a second consecutive postseason berth, which is something they haven’t achieved since 2012-13. Their recent trade for Cam Reddish set up a potential rotational logjam once everybody is healthy, and with so many extra picks to dole out, a consolidation trade appears due.

The likely departing piece? Kemba Walker, whose early-season benching, injury troubles, and defensive woes make him a prime candidate to better fit in elsewhere. He won’t fetch much on his own, but combined with another rotation piece he could make for an interesting part of a package for an upgrade.

Here are three Walker trades the Knicks could entertain...

Kemba Walker, Obi Toppin, and picks for Myles Turner

The Pacers' asking price for Turner, a center who can spread the floor and protect the rim, is reportedly a first round pick and an intriguing prospect. However, with his latest foot injury, it’s possible the bidding has slowed down, thus offering the Knicks a chance to flip Walker, Toppin, and perhaps only a couple of second-rounders or no picks at all for the big man.

It’s a big risk to take on Turner, who not only has this injury to deal with but reportedly wants out of Indiana for a bigger offensive role, which isn’t necessarily what he’d get in New York. It also comes at the cost of Toppin, who would suffer a similar fate of many past Knicks prospects being dealt before they could fully develop.

The upside is potentially securing a 25-year-old All-Star level center for one prospect and filler. If the Knicks really like Turner and believe he is a legitimate answer to some of their problems on both ends, this may be the deal for them.

Walker for Ish Smith and a second-round pick

If the Knicks can’t find a good package deal with Walker, here is a more simple deal that he might appreciate. Not only are the Charlotte Hornets likely postseason-bound with a bright future ahead and a place Walker can find consistent playing time as a backup, but it was also his NBA home for eight of his best seasons.

New York gets to move on from Walker without any bad blood, clears up a rotation spot, and nabs an extra little draft asset for their trouble. Smith can still ball, so having him as a break-in-case-of-emergency guard while still getting to distribute more minutes to their core rotation is a nice boon. Plus, it’s one less Knicks-killer on an opposing team.

Walker, Nerlens Noel, and a first-round pick for Christian Wood

In a similar vein to the Turner trade, the Knicks net a young center upgrade with a more diverse skill set than their current options, giving up Walker and other assets in the process. It’s unclear what the market is for Wood, but he doesn’t appear to fit the Houston Rockets' future plans, and providing them some veterans to steady their young core -- along with a pick -- might be enough.

Wood is always discussed more positively in terms of potential or possibility over his actual on-court performance. But coming to a Tom Thibodeau-led program after playing for losing teams since his breakout year might be what unlocks his potential. Moving away from Noel’s shaky health and adding some spacing around Julius Randle doesn’t hurt for the Knicks, either.