The New York Knicks have a chance to shake up their roster with the 2016 NBA trade deadline looming. The team might have an opportunity to continue to rebuild for the future, but a trade could also be available that would help them make a push for the playoffs.
New York was linked to a potential three-team blockbuster deal before the All-Star break, involving Carmelo Anthony and Kevin Love. According to Frank Isola of the New York Daily News, the Cleveland Cavaliers talked about sending Love to the Boston Celtics. There were preliminary discussions involving the Knicks, in which Anthony would be sent to Cleveland as part of the deal.
With a 23-32 record at the All-Star break, the Knicks are making a deep playoff run this season. The potential deal would net the Knicks draft picks and likely Timofey Mozgov. Anthony is good friends with LeBron James, and he could increase Cleveland’s chances of winning the NBA Finals. But Anthony — who has a no-trade clause — said this weekend that he isn’t going anywhere, and it seems somewhat far-fetched to believe otherwise.
If the Knicks don’t trade Anthony by Thursday’s deadline, they could look to add pieces and make a late push for the playoffs. New York doesn’t have a chance to compete for a title, but they are only five games out from the No. 8 seed in the East. The Knicks have no incentive to tank, since they don’t have a first-round pick in the upcoming draft.
New York has been hampered by poor point guard play, but Isola reports that the team is interested in upgrading the position. Ricky Rubio is reportedly available, and he could be an option for New York. Slam Dunk contest winner Zach LaVine is Rubio’s backup, and at just 20 years old, he could soon replace Rubio in the starting lineup with the Minnesota Timberwolves. Rubio is one of the NBA’s leading assist men, but LaVine is averaging nearly three more points per game with a much higher shooting percentage.
Another option for the Knicks could be Ty Lawson, whom the Houston Rockets might be looking to unload. The team has put Dwight Howard on the trade block, and they could deal Lawson, who has not fit in with Houston. Lawson is averaging career lows in points (6.3), rebounds (1.8) and shooting percentage (39.2). But it might not take much for New York to acquire the veteran, who could play better with a change of scenery, because the next year of his contract is not guaranteed.
Rajon Rondo could be an option for the Knicks at point guard but not until he enters free agency this summer. Marc Berman of the New York Post reports that Rondo will “keep an open mind" about the Knicks, even though Derek Fisher questioned Rondo’s status as an elite point guard when asked about him a few weeks ago.
The Knicks fired Fisher as their head coach shortly before the All-Star break.