New York Knicks Urged To Pursue Intriguing Sharpshooter Trade

Jalen Brunson, New York Knicks, NBA Trade Rumors
Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Knicks exceeded the expectations of most people this NBA season by finishing with the second seed in the Eastern Conference and coming to within one win of the conference finals. Along the way, the developed a strong identity and soul, two things they have lacked for over 20 years.

As the Knicks made their way through the first two rounds of the playoffs, their fans were feeling like it was 1994, which was perhaps the last time the team was a legitimate championship contender. But its puzzle isn’t quite complete yet.

It has to decide what to do with Julius Randle, its starting power forward who has made the All-Star team in three of the last four seasons but may not fit in well enough as its second-best player. There are also rumors the Knicks may end up trading backup center Mitchell Robinson, who suffered a stress fracture in Game 1 of the second round and didn’t play again in the series.

ESPN’s Chris Herring and Alder Almo of Heavy Sports suggested the Knicks address their need for more offensive firepower and another outlet for dynamo point guard Jalen Brunson by trading Robinson for 3-point specialist Luke Kennard.

“His trade proposal could give Robinson a fresh start in a team that badly needs his skillset,” Almo said of Herring’s suggestion. “On the other hand, the Knicks could add more shooting around Jalen Brunson and an expiring contract that they can use as a salary ballast in a star trade or flip for draft capital at the trade deadline.

“Kennard, the 12th overall pick in 2017, has a $14.7 million team option for this season, which the Grizzlies need to decide on June 29.”

NBA NEWS & TRADE RUMORS: Luke Kennard, Memphis Grizzlies, New York Knicks Updates

Kennard is a 6-foot-5 shooting guard who isn’t a true scoring threat, but he is always a five-alarm threat to burn the nets from long distance. He shot 45.0 percent from 3-point range this season, and he led the NBA in that category in both of the previous two seasons.

Even better, he shoots a good volume of 3-point attempts. For his career, he has averaged 4.6 tries from downtown in 23.5 minutes a game.

Another option for New York would be to simply use this proposed trade as a salary dump in order to free up space under the NBA’s ever-more suffocating salary cap.

“If they do this trade before June 29, the Knicks can waive Kennard and use the cap relief to re-sign both [Isaiah] Hartenstein and OG Anunoby without fear of becoming an apron team,” Almo suggested.

Hartenstein became New York’s starter at the 5 by midseason, even after Robinson returned after his first ankle injury. He showed growth during the playoffs as a robust rebounder and someone who can hit shots in the lane off of passes from Brunson and fellow starting guard Josh Hart.

NBA NEWS & TRADE RUMORS: Luke Kennard, Memphis Grizzlies, New York Knicks Updates

Anunoby, meanwhile, was a major part in the Knicks’ rise from an also-ran to a very good team in January after he arrived in a trade from the Toronto Raptors. He is a 3-and-D wing who is seen as vital to their success, and many feel re-signing him this summer is an absolute must if they are to carry their newfound success over to next season.

Anunoby injured his hamstring in Game 2 of the second round versus the Indiana Pacers, and other than a brief stint in Game 7, didn’t return the rest of the way. He had scored 28 points in Game 2 to help lead New York to a 130-121 victory.

Want the latest NBA analysis, breaking news, and insider information? Click Here. Follow NBA Analysis Network on Twitter and Facebook.

Interested in reading the latest storylines and analysis in the NFL? Check out our partner NFL Analysis Network.

Steve Ballmer Reveals He ‘Hated’ Paul George Leaving Clippers

The Los Angeles Clippers’ five-year experience is officially over. The spectacular trade for Paul George, which was among the largest of its time, had a

NBA’s Future: Expansion Rumors Swirl Around Seattle, Las Vegas, And Beyond

The NBA expansion has been a hot topic of debate for quite some time. Since 1995, the league hasn’t gone beyond the 30-team format. However,

Grizzlies’ Smart Trade: Ziaire Williams To Nets For Defensive Depth

The Memphis Grizzlies are loading up for the next NBA season. Before the Ja Morant controversy and subsequent injury, the Grizzlies were on the perfect