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What’s the next move for the New York Knicks?

The New York Knicks have gotten off to a red hot start partially due to the acquisition of OG Anunoby, who was traded on December 30th along with Malachi Flynn and Precious Achiuwa. So far New York has gone 5-1. They have won by an average of 20 points in those games and have ranked #1 in Defensive rating with a score of 100.  As optimistic as some might look at this change of fortune, the realistic truth is that the Knicks are still a few small moves, or possibly one big move, from truly being looked at as a legitimate NBA title contender. The Anunoby move was an addition by subtraction transaction. Although they were able to fill a major void that the team had, it was not without taking away some key pieces that the team possessed. The Knicks will likely be looking to account for some of those players that they have lost not only by trade, but also due to injuries so far this season.

SPARK OFF THE BENCH

With Immanuel Quickley being dealt for OG, the Knicks are now without their most consistent ball handler/scorer off the bench. In his absence thus far Deuce Mcbride and Quentin Grimes have done a good job of filling in but the Knicks may look to add some additional help to boost the bench. Norman Powell is an interesting name to consider. Powell has been instant offense off the bench for the Clippers. He is averaging 13 points on close to 50% shooting from the field and a scorching 45.5% from 3. The Clippers have a multitude of options at the guard/wing position and may be looking to obtain draft compensation, given they have exhausted those assets in past trade scenarios. Powell is on a fairly team friendly deal ($18 million per year until 2026), that could possibly be flipped in the future if the Knicks decide they want to move on from him.

Dec 16, 2023; Los Angeles, California, USA; Los Angeles Clippers guard Norman Powell (24) moves the ball against New York Knicks guard Josh Hart (3) during the first half at Crypto.com Arena. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

 

DEPTH INSIDE

Ever since Isaiah Hartenstein has taken over the starting role at Center he has miraculously transformed himself into a defensive juggernaut of sorts. Beyond him the Knicks have little to no inside presence. The Knicks signed Taj Gibson on December 17th for insurance purposes, but have since then released him after only a few games. Precious Achiuwa is still getting acclimated to his new surroundings. Yet and still he’s undersized at the Center position at 6’8.  The Knicks may look to shore up the inside with another big man that can log some minutes outside of Hartenstein and Precious. Keep your eye on a player like Kelly Olynyk. Olynyk is a veteran, 6’11 Power forward/Center that can provide some stability in the front court. Kelly can spread the floor; play-make and handle meaningful minutes even in the capacity of an occasional start if need be. Olynyk is currently on an expiring contract and is being paid $12 million per year. The Jazz are more than likely still a year away from contention and could be looking to gain assets or possibly a good young player that they can develop for the future.

Dec 13, 2023; Salt Lake City, Utah, USA; New York Knicks forward Julius Randle (30) dribbles around Utah Jazz forward Kelly Olynyk (41) during the second quarter at Delta Center. Mandatory Credit: Rob Gray-USA TODAY Sports

Outside Sharpshooter

Outside of the first two options suggested, I could see New York looking at Bojan Bogdanovic. After missing the first 20 games of the regular season with a calf injury, Bojan has returned to regular form putting up quality scoring numbers albeit for a lowly Detroit Pistons team. Bogdanovic is averaging 20 points per game on 46% shooting from field and 41% from 3. He can create his own shot but is also comfortable spotting up from the outside. Bojan is a hybrid forward going back and forth between the wing and 4 position and could aid the Knicks in instant offense off the bench or in a starting role if the matchup is favorable. The Pistons already owe the Knicks a lottery protected first round draft pick from a previous trade so they may look to regain the rights in exchange for Bojan. After this season Bogdanovic will have one year remaining on his $20 million per year contract extension, which the team will have an option of picking up or allowing him to leave in free agency.

CONCLUSION

Regardless of what New York does between now and the trade deadline they will likely go after a top-notch player in the offseason. But in the meantime, they will look to add pieces to strengthen the roster even if it means they will be temporary assets to be flipped down the line to make the money match in a future blockbuster deal.

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