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Report: Knicks continue to pursue D’Angelo Russell

We analyze what New York needs to do before the deadline and update you on the latest news and rumors.

Latest news, rumors, analysis for New York Knicks before trade deadline

Update, Feb, 5: The Knicks are continuing to pursue Warriors G D’Angelo Russell, The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported Wednesday.

Update, Feb.4: The New York Knicks are the latest team to have exploratory conversations pertaining to Lakers F Kyle Kuzma prior to the NBA Trade Deadline on Thursday at 3:00 p.m. ET.

The Knicks were said to be in on D’Angelo Russell yesterday and now they’re linked to another young piece. This deal makes a bit more sense than adding Russell. The Knicks would be bringing in another young asset, since Kuzma has one more year on his rookie contract before he’s a restricted free agent. The Lakers are likely looking for veteran help for their push at a championship. Kuzma has been the odd-man out for L.A. most of the season, really only showing his value when injuries pop up.

Update, Jan. 27: It’s been relatively quiet on the Knicks trade front in recent weeks. The team had been tied to Pistons big man Andre Drummond, but those rumors have died down. new York continues to sit at the bottom of the East at 13-34 and has been without rookie RJ Barrett due to an ankle injury. The team is in the midst of another lame-duck season and it’s only a matter of time before assets are traded off.

One of those could be Dennis Smith Jr., who seemed like a future piece as part of the Porzingis trade. Now, DSJ may be sold off for parts, which is another uninspiring move for the franchise. Who knows what type of market there is for DSJ and what the Knicks would even get in return. Smith has played one game since Dec. 23 and is losing value rapidly.

— Ben Zweiman

The Knicks traded franchise player Kristaps Porzingis prior to last season’s trade deadline in an effort to clear cap space to take a big swing in free agency, as both Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant were rumored to have interest in playing in New York. Irving and Durant ended up signing to play in New York, but in Brooklyn with the Nets, and the Knicks ended up taking a gigantic free agency whiff. The result has been another lost season, as the Knicks are 11-29 and sit as the second worst team in the Eastern Conference. The Knicks currently are tied for the best odds to win the 2020 NBA draft lottery and are best served tanking for the rest of the season to ensure their lottery odds hold.

The Knicks could be busy at the trade deadline, as they have a lot of veterans on expiring contracts. Candidates to get moved include Marcus Morris Sr., Julius Randle, Taj Gibson, Reggie Bullock, Bobby Portis, Wayne Ellington and Elfrid Payton. Of those players, only Randle has a guaranteed contract beyond this season, as Morris, Gibson, Portis, Bullock, Ellington and Payton all either have club options for next season or only partially guaranteed contracts. New York may have signed these players to short term deals prior to the season with the idea in mind of moving them for future assets at the trade deadline.

Randle is a good player, but since he has a larger contract, he could be more difficult to move. Morris could be in demand prior to the trade deadline as an expiring-contract forward who can space the floor with 3-pointers. Morris is shooting an excellent 47% on roughly six 3-point attempts per game this season and has shot a strong 39.5% from 3 over his last three seasons. Bullock could also have trade appeal as a 6’6” wing who can knock down 3-pointers. Bullock is a career 39% shooter from 3, a strong mark, and is shooting 37.5% from 3 this season, which is better than average.

Will the Knicks trade for Andre Drummond?

The Knicks reportedly inquired about Pistons C Andre Drummond. Drummond’s status in Detroit has been uncertain, as Drummond has a player option for next season and could decline the option to become a free agent. Drummond is a quality player, posting a 22.2 player efficiency rating, 10th best among centers. Drummond is also one of the league’s best rebounders, grabbing 26% of missed shots, the top mark among all players.

While Drummond is excellent on the glass, he has severe deficiencies in his game, including free throw shooting and floor-clogging. The current NBA game is trending towards big men who can space the floor with a 3-point shot, and tying up significant portions of the salary cap into a traditional center may not be the best use of a team’s cap space. If the Knicks do trade for Drummond, they would likely be doing so in an attempt to sign him to a long term deal.