Knicks Notes: Trade Chips, Brunson, Randle, Quickley

Given their excess of future first-round picks, the Knicks have long been viewed as a good candidate to make a trade for a star player — they seemingly got close last summer when they pursued Donovan Mitchell. In a recent Hoop Collective podcast, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst suggested that the team could be even more ambitious heading into the 2023 offseason.

“Here’s what I think about the Knicks,” Windhorst said (hat tip to RealGM). “They have two handfuls of trade material, in my opinion. They can make, in my opinion, two big trades if they had to coming into this summer. They have the expiring contract of Evan Fournier, which can act as ballast in a trade. They have a bunch of younger players that people are interested in. And they have something like nine tradable first round picks.

“In my view, they can trade for two star-level players if they needed to. … In my opinion, they can hold Jalen Brunson, they can hold Julius Randle, and they can make two giant trades. Now, whether they can hold Brunson, Randle AND (RJ) Barrett and make two giant trades, that would depend on the players. But there is even a window that they can hold all three of those and make two giant trades.”

Windhorst went on to offer some caveats. He believes that a star (or two) may have to explicitly seek a move to New York in order for the Knicks to realistically be able to use their assets to land two impact players. He also acknowledged that, as well positioned as the Knicks are to pursue a blockbuster deal or two, actually making those deals won’t be easy.

“Leon Rose has put them in position,” Windhorst said. “Getting into position is not the hard part. Executing is the hard part. But he’s put them in position.”

Here’s more on the Knicks:

  • Three games after returning from a foot injury, Jalen Brunson was out again on Thursday in Orlando due to a right hand sprain, notes Peter Botte of The New York Post. Following the Knicks’ loss to the Magic, Brunson appeared to be sporting a hard plastic brace on his hand. “I think he’ll be evaluated when we get back (to New York), so we’ll see where he is,” head coach Tom Thibodeau said.
  • An All-NBA second-teamer in 2021, Julius Randle had a down year in 2022 but now once again looks like a legitimate All-NBA candidate, writes Fred Katz of The Athletic. Katz polled 39 media members on their All-NBA picks and found that Randle received the fourth-most votes among forwards, behind only Giannis Antetokounmpo, Jayson Tatum, and Jimmy Butler. As Katz observes, Randle could benefit from superstars like Kevin Durant, LeBron James, and Kawhi Leonard missing significant time due to injuries.
  • Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports spoke to Sixth Man of the Year candidate Immanuel Quickley about the strides he has made on both sides of the court during his third NBA season. Quickley will be eligible for a rookie scale extension beginning in July.
  • Randle received a technical foul for yelling at official Leon Wood at the end of the first half of Thursday’s loss. Quickley, who tried to calm down Randle, ended up nose-to-nose with his teammate as the two exchanged words (Twitter video link), but downplayed the altercation after the game, Botte writes for The New York Post. “Honestly, everybody’s trying to win. Heat of the moment. That’s basically what it is,” Quickley said. “We all want to win. We’re all trying to get dubs.”
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