Rumors turned into reality as the New York Knicks proved to be buyers at this year’s trade deadline after acquiring Cam Reddish from the Atlanta Hawks. New York needed a boost to move up the Eastern Conference standings and solidify a playoff berth.
Now it’s time for the Knickerbockers to make their blockbuster move to not just push for a playoff spot but make a playoff run.
Meanwhile, the Sacramento Kings are at least listening to offers for anyone on the roster, including star point guard De’Aaron Fox. Despite having a down year, Fox remains one of the league’s most explosive players at that position.
And the Kings are hoping to make a playoff appearance of their own, which would be their first in 15 years.
A deal sending Fox to the Garden and a handful of pieces back west is a win-win move for two franchises hoping to make respective postseason splashes.
The rumors continue to swirl around the New York Knicks
New York has been trying to solidify the point guard position for a while. The Knicks took a swing on Kemba Walker in free agency, but it appears the former UConn star’s injuries and age have caught up with him.
With New York sitting at 21-21 and 10th in the East — the final play-in spot — and with a trade for Reddish already competed, the organization seems to at least be trying to make the playoffs a sure thing.
But if the Knicks want to make a splash and move from playoff team to Finals contender, more significant moves need to be considered.
Sacramento, meanwhile, is also 10th in its conference and hanging onto the final spot in the play-in tournament.
The Kings are tied with Portland, who appears to be falling quickly, with the Zion Williamson-less New Orleans Pelicans a half-game back.
Sacramento hasn’t made the playoffs in 15 years. 2005-06 was the last time the team made a postseason appearance, and, understandably, the franchise is desperate to change that.
The Kings need a shakeup to hold off teams like Portland and New Orleans. And they appear to be open to any deal that would offer them that, including a trade involving their star point guard, according to The Athletic.
Sending Fox to New York and recalibrating a rotation that would become more stable and balanced could be that shakeup.
A trade to acquire De’Aaron Fox should be the the Knicks next move
New York Knicks receive: De’Aaron Fox
Sacramento Kings receive: Obi Toppin, Immanuel Quickley, Kemba Walker, Alec Burks, 2023 top-five protected first-round pick, 2025 lottery-protected first-round pick
A lot of pieces are heading west in this deal, but for necessary reasons.
Toppin and Quickley are the two young players with potential required to make these kinds of deals work, especially as the Kings try and push for a spot in the postseason.
But the real get in the trade is the two first-rounders. The 2023 draft is, as of now, expected to be one of the best in recent memory. And a lottery-protected pick three years down the road is a decent toss-in.
Walker and Burks need to be involved for salary purposes.
But the Knicks are getting the best player in the deal. Even during a down year, Fox remains one of the NBA’s most athletic and explosive attacking guards, something New York doesn’t currently have on its roster.
The 24-year-old is only one season removed from being considered one of the best point guards in the league. If/when he returns to form, he becomes the Knicks’ best player.
Sacramento can officially turn the team over to Tyrese Haliburton, a more steady playmaker than Fox. The Kings can still fill out their lineup with solid players like Buddy Hield, Harrison Barnes, and Richaun Holmes.
Quickley can help fill Fox’s void as depth in the backcourt, and Toppin’s upside is alluring as a pick-and-roll lob threat with Haliburton. Those players help now. The picks help in the future.
The deal gives each franchise what it wants for this year and years to come.
The deal would be beneficial for both franchises come playoff time
A franchise in the modern NBA can’t have legitimate championship aspirations without at least one superstar. Fox gives the Knicks a chance at one.
Twelve months ago, he was on the precipice of that level.
It appears the Knicks are gearing up to make a deep run right now; that a playoff spot on its own isn’t enough.
If they hope to do that, they need to swing for the fences. Acquiring a player of Swipa’s caliber is that swing.
All statistics courtesy of NBA.com.