The New York Knicks have clearly made a step or two with Jalen Brunson, not to mention Julius Randle, who has bounced back from his disastrous 2021-22. However, the club still have several spots that need to be shored up before anyone can label them a factor in the newly dominant East.
One of the bigger items that still requires a tick is more shooting. For the year, the Knicks had an effective field goal percentage of 52.1, a number ranked only 26th in the NBA. Meanwhile, New York’s 11.8 three-point results per contest and 33.9% conversion rate are both below the league average.
With the Knicks’ starting lineup essentially locked — the only question with the top five right now is which pivot will fill in for Mitchell Robinson — they’ll need to help out on the bench if they’re hoping for more batting.
By attaching a selection to Evan Fournier’s contract, they may be able to strike a deal with a western rival for a legitimate deep threat (which Tom Thibodeau doesn’t have to hide on the other end).
After disappointing in a key role for the Knicks last season, Fournier has become a forgotten man in 2022-23. However, the team will be above the cap whether attached to him or not, so there’s no need to take a bad deal that costs them an asset only to lose his bloated contract.
However, a trade that gives the Knicks a long-term streak with ground clearance capability and playoff experience would be a pick. In view of this, we suggest the following:
While Beasley’s numbers have waned in recent weeks, the 26-year-old is still averaging 13.7 points per game and shooting 36% from deep (and he’s over 38% for his career). Also, he’s probably up for that type of package.
According to longtime league insider Marc Stein, the Jazz accept all of their players who aren’t named Lauri Markkanen or Walker Kessler. And if Danny Ainge has proven anything with his dealings since the summer, it’s that he values first-round draft picks.
Utah also has just enough room under the luxury tax apron to accept Fournier’s deal, which will become very mobile in the not too distant future as salary expiring (there’s a team option on the $19 million he owes in 2024-25). .
At least it’s food for thought.
Fans who were around during the doldrums of the past Carmelo Anthony years will likely remember Cleanthony Early. The Wichita State product and consensus All-American played portions of two seasons for the Knicks, averaging 4.3 points and 2.2 boards in 56 appearances from 2014-’16.
For more than six years, however, he’s been living the life of a hardwood vagabond. To that end, the 31-year-old has just found his newest hardwood home. According to a team announcement on Saturday, Early has signed with Dynamo Lebanon of the Lebanese Basketball League.
The team, who haven’t lost a domestic league game since October 23 (that’s 10 straight wins), expects to be available early for the 2023 Dubai International Basketball Championships, which takes place from January 27 to February 5 in the United Arab Emirates take place.
He played early for the TaiwanBeer HeroBears in the T1 League. In December, he broke the league scoring record with a 56-point game.