Knicks Mailbag: What could it take to trade for Dejounte Murray, and what's the plan for Evan Fournier?

SNY's Ian Begley will be responding to and breaking down answers to Knicks questions from readers. Here's the latest...

What is the Knicks' plan for Evan Fournier? - @SleepyJ_

They are going to trade him, it’s just a matter of when and for whom. Fournier is making $18.8 million this season. That salary is valuable in many trades the Knicks could explore in the next three weeks. They could use it in a package to acquire Bruce Brown from Toronto. They could also package Quentin Grimes and Fournier to match salary for a top reserve like Portland’s Malcolm Brogdon or Charlotte’s Terry Rozier.

For what it’s worth: Rozier had not been at the top of the Knicks’ list entering the week. As of last weekend, the Knicks had not made a significant inquiry on Brogdon, either. Things can always change in the next three weeks. But Brown, I assume, will be near the top of the Knicks’ wish list if he becomes available.

If the Knicks don’t include Fournier in a deal prior to Feb. 8, they could simply decline his team option for 2024-25 and let him test free agency. Doing so would remove a valuable salary to use in potential trades. So the Knicks could decide to pick Fournier’s option up in order to include him in a trade in the 2024 offseason.

But holding onto Fournier until the summer has downstream implications. When teams treat players as trade filler and ignore the human aspect of the business, players notice. It can lead players and agents to view a front office in a negative light. Some executives don’t care about this element of business. If I had to guess, this factor is being weighed by the Knicks.

I’d guess they want to do the right thing for Fournier and trade him by the deadline if they have an adequate offer. He has been mostly out of the rotation for 13 months. Keeping him on ice for another two months so you can throw him in a trade makes sense from a cap perspective. But it could ultimately hurt the Knicks’ perception among players/agents.


What’s been the worst loss of the season? Home against the Cavs on 11/1? At Dallas (No Luka)? Home to the Magic (No Franz)? Off the board? - @DanStanczyk

I respect your pessimism, Dan. Road losses to Dallas and Utah come to mind. But I’d go with the loss to Orlando earlier this week since the Magic were missing Franz Wagner and Gary Harris. The Knicks played without Jalen Brunson but they held an 11-point lead late in the third and were outscored, 25-16, in the fourth quarter.

Do you think the Knicks would still acquire bench help if the only players available were expiring or had 2 or more years remaining? - @Mavrik2190

The Knicks are looking at players – like Brown – who would be on the roster in 2024-25. This would allow them to use that player’s salary for a trade in the 2024 offseason. But the Knicks aren’t limiting themselves to players under contract for next season. They have interest in at least one veteran player who will be a free agent in 2024.

Hey Ian, which players are the Knicks currently linked to on the trade market and what exactly are they looking for if they were to make a trade? - @KNYT_Hoops

Depending on which outlet you read, the Knicks could be linked to 20 players ahead of the deadline. A fraction of those reports are accurate. I know they have interest in Brown if he becomes available. I know some decision-makers hold Dejounte Murray in high regard. But the asking price for Murray may be too high for the Knicks (the Nets also have interest in Murray and could be a good trade partner for Atlanta if things don’t work out financially for the Lakers in their pursuit of Murray.)

Logic tells you that the Knicks will have a degree of interest in Detroit’s Alec Burks. Thibodeau loved Burks during his two-year stint in New York.

What are the chances the Knicks add Gordon Hayward to the roster if he's bought out? - @TheKnicksRecap

Thibodeau is also fond of Hayward. The Knicks have an open roster spot at the moment. If they keep that spot open after the deadline, Hayward would be a reasonable addition. But I would assume the Knicks prioritize other players ahead of Hayward at the deadline.

Is Grimes + Fournier + Flynn enough to get Murray? - @BROOKLYNSAINTS

Mathematically, yes. Atlanta could absorb Grimes, Fournier and Malachi Flynn into its John Collins trade exception. But Atlanta would likely ask for more to part ways with Murray. The Hawks would probably ask the Knicks for at least one future first-rounder in this hypothetical.

First time, long time! Everyone will ask about trade deadline targets so I will go a little more personal…who are your favorite players you have covered in your career and why? I’ll hang up and listen. - @davidfuternick

This is a great question, Mr. Futernick. Welcome to the show! JR Smith is near the top of my list. I always appreciated his candor, no matter the topic of discussion. Carmelo Anthony, for the same reasons. Kristaps Porzingis provided great insight and wasn’t afraid to be critical of himself or the team. Josh Hart also gives transparent assessments of himself and the team. Provides great insight.

He wasn’t a player, but Phil Jackson was great during his Knicks presidency. He gave unvarnished opinions on his own players and different situations that arose for some players. He also spoke regularly to the media early in his term as team president, which is highly uncommon for a Knicks executive.

Kyle O’Quinn was great, in part, because of his sense of humor. Rasheed Wallace, who used the term "dog and pony show" to describe an ejection. I also appreciated Anthony, RJ Barrett, Julius Randle, Jalen Brunson and many others for consistently being available to media at games/practices. I wouldn’t want to answer questions about why things were going poorly at my job. But these players usually handled it well. Thankfully for the Knicks, Brunson hasn’t had to answer too many questions about demoralizing losses.