Saturday, January 21, 2023

Proposed trade strengthens Knicks Bench with veteran sniper

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Despite two questionable losses recently, the New York Knicks are clearly in better shape than they were a year ago. After breaking the bank to bring in Jalen Brunson and extend RJ Barrett through the summer, Leon Rose and co would no doubt like to see a greater return on the team’s investment.

To that end, a move to improve bank attack could be prioritized by the front office. While the New York reserves have outperformed opponents overall this season, their combined effective field goal percentage of 50.5 is currently the second-worst mark in the entire league.

As always, shooting is paramount in the NBA and the Knicks could definitely use a little more of that on the stretch run.

In an effort to add some of that to the club’s second-unit mix, we’re proposing a deadline deal to bring Houston Rockets guard Eric Gordon to the Big Apple.

While Gordon’s efficiency numbers have taken a small dip in 2022-23, the 15-year-old pro continues to be a solid points producer in his role. In 39 appearances with Houston, Gordon averaged 12.2 points and 2.6 assists per game on 43-35-81 shooting splits.

The following deal would bring some of that production to the Knicks:

Gordon’s name has been in trade rumors during every deal deadline and offseason since the Rockets decided to end their James Harden iteration. Still, he’s stayed in Space City, and his unaffordable contract was almost certainly a factor in the non-movement.

Even now, at 34, he will come within a hair’s breadth of $20 million this season. However, that contract issue is going away as his $20.9 million salary is not guaranteed for 2023-24. Fournier now represents $55.9 million most of time dead salary between now and his 2024-25 club option year.

Neither club is changing their books in earth-shattering ways, and both can benefit in other ways.

Whether or not the Knicks are able to slash Fournier’s salary, they will operate as an over-the-top team in terms of the free hand. So there’s no real push to give another team an advantage just to take the baller off their books. However, the potential impact of an on-pitch substitution could be huge.

While Fournier was used as a starting wing (or at least a strong wing), he was dropped from Tom Thibodeau’s rotation that season due to the low shooting counts of his career. Gordon, meanwhile, could be penned as a nightly regular, even if he appears in a smaller role than the one he’s currently clinging to in Houston.

As for the Rockets, Gordon has been a disproportion to their timeline since Harden’s departure, and a first-round pick is nice consolation for parting ways with him. Additionally, Fournier’s expiring deal could come in handy in the future if the Rockets decide to package some of their wealth with salary to land a difference maker.

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