Knicks not looking to disrupt team chemistry with major trade at NBA deadline


Knicks swarm Reggie Bullock and celebrate win over Magic

Knicks swarm Reggie Bullock and celebrate win over Magic

A few notes ahead of Thursday’s trade deadline:

Several teams in touch with the Knicks recently are under the impression that New York is unlikely to trade major assets for a top player at the deadline. That echoes what we noted last week.

Some teams in touch with the Knicks cited a common factor: A major trade in the middle of the season could disrupt the chemistry established by New York’s current group.

The impact a major trade could have on team chemistry is a concern in some corners of the organization, those teams say.

The Knicks are 21-22 entering Tuesday’s game against the Washington Wizards. They’ve clearly exceeded preseason expectations to this point.

They can probably use some help on offense, given the way they’ve struggled to score at times in Derrick Rose’s absence.

To that end, the Knicks – like all other teams — have been monitoring the cost to trade for players who may be available at the deadline. For example: New York and Orlando recently had a conversation about a trade involving Evan Fournier, per SNY sources. It’s unclear if that discussion reached an advanced stage.

But teams in touch with the Knicks recently have gotten the impression that they aren’t open to giving up significant assets in a trade for a player at the top of the trade market like Victor Oladipo.

Of course, things can change quickly this week. Houston’s asking price for Oladipo could plummet. Same goes for New Orleans and Lonzo Ball.

So it’s possible that the Knicks end up acquiring a top player on the market.

But they haven’t conveyed strong interest in meeting the asking price for any of those players in recent days.

One transaction to monitor? A potential Austin Rivers move. If you listened to Rivers’ press conference a few weeks ago, he sounded like a player who expected to get traded. Even with all of the Knicks’ injury issues, Rivers has only played a total of 5:58 since the Rose trade. (He’s been inactive since the All-Star break due to paternity leave).

ESPN reported Monday that Rivers will likely be traded before the deadline or bought out by New York. SNY can confirm that a trade or buyout for Rivers is under consideration.

If Rivers is moved and the transaction opens up a roster spot, big man John Henson is among the players on the Knicks’ radar for that roster spot, per SNY sources. Big man Norvel Pelle is also on New York’s radar if a roster spot opens up, per SNY sources.

With regards to Rivers, it’s worth noting that he played well when he received regular minutes in New York’s rotation. With Immanuel Quickley, Rose and Elfrid Payton in the rotation, there is no clear role for Rivers. Given the situation, the Knicks and Rivers’ representatives at CAA are working to find a good situation for the guard.

Rivers has said that he knew being a mentor to young players would be part of the role he’d be asked to play when he signed with the Knicks. Tom Thibodeau has said that he appreciated Rivers’ approach when he was in and out of the rotation.

So it seems like the Knicks are pleased with the way Rivers has handled himself during his stint and they want to reward him by finding a good landing spot for the nine-year veteran.

Something else you may see at the deadline: New York operating as a third team to help facilitate a trade. This would allow the Knicks to receive an asset in a deal by taking on another team’s unwanted asset.

The Knicks have roughly $15 million in cap space and can absorb a contract as the third team in a three-team deal. In such a scenario, New York would also receive a draft pick or a desirable player in the trade.

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