Friday, January 20, 2023

Knicks strengthens key position for playoff push in proposed trade

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The New York Knicks are fighting for the playoffs this season and are in a good position to do so. If they sit at 25-21, they must battle their way through the play-in tournament, meaning a best-of-1 match will decide their fate.

To avoid that, or give them the best possible chance, the Knicks will likely need to make a trade, and that timeline may have just shifted up following Mitchell Robinson’s injury. Robinson is expected to be absent for at least three weeks after thumb surgery, so the team will have to replace their midway production.

The team can look inside and give the Jericho Sims more minutes, or they could look outside to do business. Orlando Magic Center Mo Bamba is a name often associated with the Knicks, and with good reason. Bamba is a native New Yorker and he would fill a need for the team.

Sports Illustrated writer Jeremy Brener had a deal that would result in Bamba donning a Knicks jersey.

With Robinson out for the rest of the month and beyond, the Knicks are suddenly undermanned at center. Isaiah Hartenstein’s signing for the off-season hasn’t lived up to expectations, and Sims is still a raw prospect unwilling to play 30-35 minutes a night.

This is where Bamba can come in, and Brener suggests flipping Hartenstein and Cam Reddish on Magic to make it happen.

“Bamba would likely come off the bench for the Knicks, replacing Hartenstein’s spot on the rotation,” he wrote. “The Magic has previously been linked with Hartenstein and has reportedly expressed an interest in the 24-year-old tall man at hand.”

With Robinson injured, Bamba could step in as a starter until his return, and he would bring many of the same tools to the table. Bamba is a good defender and shot blocker, and he can even stretch the ground a bit for a three-pointer or two during a game.

There’s no doubt that adding Bamba would improve the Knicks, and if it means they could pull away from Hartenstein, it’s a win for them.

As far as magic goes, they would be jeopardizing Reddish’s potential, but that could also work in their favor. The former lottery pick doesn’t get a chance with the Knicks, but that could change as Magic rebuilds.

“Reddish, 23, is a restricted free agent this offseason and the Magic would get their first chance to match any offer he might get in free agency,” Brener wrote. “Having dropped out of the Knicks rotation, Reddish is looking for his third NBA home in as many years. He has tremendous talent as a former top high school recruit and lottery winner, but it didn’t sit well with his stints with the Atlanta Hawks and Knicks.”

He’s still young enough to turn things around, and on a young team like Magic with few expectations, that could happen.

As the February trading deadline approaches, time is getting tighter for teams every day, but nothing major has happened as of yet.

For the Knicks, they have three plays in Derrick Rose, Evan Fournier and Reddish to watch as they are all off active rotation.

According to HoopsHype’s Michael Scotto, teams have been asking about Reddish, so he seems to be the one of the trio generating the most interest.

“The Lakers, Bucks and other teams have been inquiring about the asking price for Reddish, who shot a career-high 44.9 percent from the field before being benched, HoopsHype has learned,” Scotto said.

Immanuel Quickley is someone who has been in frequent conversations throughout the year, but it’s hard to imagine the Knicks moving away from him at this point given the huge role he plays in the team.

“The Lakers, Bucks and other teams have been inquiring about the asking price for Reddish, who shot a career-high 44.9 percent from the field before being benched, HoopsHype has learned,” Scotto said.

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