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The Knicks have been a pleasant surprise this season. Positioned to compete for a playoff spot, they could make a move at the trade deadline to bolster their roster.
Though they have reached a respectable 12th in three-point percentage (37.1), they still have the third-worst three-point attempt rate in the league.
Adding shooting that can threaten a defense would open up the floor for All-Star Julius Randle and second leading scorer RJ Barrett. It would be crucial to improving the team’s playoff hopes.
Here’s a look at some available players that can help ahead of the March 25 trade deadline...
The skill that separates the Orlando Magic guard from most players is that he can create his own shot. A career 37 percent three-point shooter, Fournier has some playmaking skills and can fit in with the Knicks as a third scoring option. His ability to shoot off the bounce or catch and shoot would be helpful. Averaging 18.5 points this season, Fournier’s malleability is a major plus.
Fournier is in the final year of a five-year, $85 million deal, and will be one of the top shooting guards available on the free agent market. The Magic roster has been devastated by injuries. Orlando is in the midst of a nine-game losing streak that has dropped the team to the second-worst record in the Eastern Conference. It would make sense to try and deal Fournier and recoup some assets rather than re-sign the guard and enter the luxury tax next season.
That will also require the Knicks to invest heavily in the guard past this season. If the Knicks acquired Fournier in a trade, they would likely need to send a first round pick to Orlando for the guard.
2. J.J. Redick
The 36-year old Redick is on the decline, but he can still help a team. In the last year of a two-year, $26.5 million deal, Redick’s age doesn’t fit the timeline of New Orleans’ young core that features Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram. Also, with the Pelicans not likely to re-sign Redick, it would make sense to deal Redick to a team with better playoff chances.
Reports say Redick wants to play close to his home of Brooklyn. Teams in the Northeast like the Knicks, Brooklyn, Boston, and Philadelphia have all expressed interest. The Knicks are the weakest team of the bunch, but they are in a great location for Redick.
New York can absorb Redick’s $13 million salary into their cap space without having to send back a player. If the Knicks are all in on trying to make the playoffs, they could acquire Redick for a second round pick. He would help the team with his ability to draw attention, moving off screens and dribble handoffs. New York relies heavily on isolation and pick and roll offense. That shows in their assist rate (29th).
3. Norman Powell
If the Knicks are looking to splurge, Powell would be a very good option. A six-year veteran, Powell has grown as a scorer this season, averaging a career-best 19.7 points while shooting 44.6 percent from the three-point line. In the last seven games, Powell is averaging 30.3 points, including a 43-point eruption against the Detroit Pistons on Wednesday.
Powell has a player option worth $11.6 million for the 2021-22 season. He is a so-so defender and not much of a playmaker. He could fit in as a third scoring option in the Knicks’ offense right now.
Based on the career year he is experiencing, it’s likely that Powell will opt out of the final year of his contract and enter unrestricted free agency. Are the Knicks willing to go into the $20 million annual salary range for Powell? With a thin crop of free agents, Powell’s positional versatility on the wing and improved game makes him an interesting target.
4. Doug McDermott
Though there have been no real trade rumors involving McDermott, he would make sense for the Knicks. Capable of playing both forward positions, McDermott will be a free agent this offseason. With Indiana at just 17-22, they might want to move the sharpshooter if it is no longer palatable to re-sign him.
A former Knick during the 2017-18 season, McDermott has flourished with the Indiana Pacers, averaging a career-high 13.3 points. Though he’s shooting his worst three-point percentage (37.2 percent from three), McDermott is above the league average and is a career 40.7 percent sniper from long range. He’s also added off the ball movement to his game, coming off of pin-downs and dribble handoffs, while finishing better around the rim and on drives.
The only troubling signs are that McDermott is a limited defender and rebounder despite playing a good portion of his minutes at power forward. He’s also struggled to score when Domantas Sabonis — who sets up McDermott with elite screens and passes — is not in the lineup.
5. Wayne Ellington
Another former Knick, Ellington has been blistering hot from three this season, shooting 42.2 percent from beyond the arc on 192 attempts with the Detroit Pistons. He struggled last year with the Knicks, shooting his lowest three-point percentage (35 percent) in nine seasons.
Ellington’s game thrives on ball movement and man movement. Like Redick, the Knicks would have to embrace running some actions for Ellington to come off screens and fire away from deep like he has in previous stops such as Miami and Detroit. Maybe Ellington would be better the second time around.