Insider Reveals Wrinkle on Knicks $120 Million Star Chase

Leon Rose William Wesley Knicks

Getty Leon Rose and William Wesley sit courtside during a game between the New York Knicks and the Chicago Bulls.

With the New York Knicks zooming to a rousing 8-2 start in the OG Anunoby era, they are less likely to go all-in on Atlanta Hawks’ two-way star Dejounte Murray.

The Hawks’ asking price for Murray could be too rich for the Knicks’ blood, according to SNY’s Ian Begley.

“People with the Knicks are also interested in Murray. They like him a lot, but I think the price ultimately that Atlanta is asking for is gonna be a little bit too high for New York,” Begley reported after the Knicks beat the Washington Wizards 113-109 on Thursday, January 18.

The Knicks (25-17) moved up to solo fifth place in the East.

The Hawks previously sought Immanuel Quickley and a first-round pick from the Knicks, per Los Angeles Times’ Dan Woike. Ultimately, the Knicks flipped Quickley and RJ Barrett for Anunoby.

Murray’s $120 million, four-year extension kicks in next season, plus the league’s biggest trade kicker ($13.5 million) which will hit the acquiring team’s cap space. Evenly spread in four years, that’s more than $3 million a year on top of his annual salary.

Knicks’ Focused on Bench Boost

Another reason why the Knicks are not in a rush to go all-in on Murray is Donte DiVincenzo’s play.

Their free agent acquisition has fit in perfectly next to Jalen Brunson in their starting backcourt. DiVincenzo hit 5 of 12 3-pointers against the Wizards to hike his season total to 110 this season, on pace to break his career-high 150 3s with the Golden State Warriors last season.

DiVincenzo is averaging 11.2 points on 45.5% shooting from the field and 42.5% from deep, all career-highs. He does not demand the ball the way Murray would need.

DiVincenzo’s off-the-ball defense is also complimentary of Anunoby’s elite on-ball defense.

The Knicks’ focus now lies on refilling their bench, which significantly lost Quickley’s scoring boost and playmaking.

According to Marc Stein, the Knicks “have a level of interest in Utah’s Jordan Clarkson as well as a trio of guards they have been linked to previously: Portland’s Malcolm Brogdon, Charlotte’s Terry Rozier and Detroit’s Alec Burks (a recent Knicks alumnus).”

Quentin Grimes Draws Plenty of Trade Buzz

Disgruntled Quentin Grimes is drawing plenty of trade interest from several teams as the Knicks are actively fielding offers for him.

SNY’s Ian Begley named “The Atlanta Hawks, Memphis Grizzlies, Utah Jazz and Houston Rockets are among the teams with interest in the 23-year-old shooting guard.”

New York Post’s Stefan Bondy added the Dallas Mavericks to the mix.

Grimes missed all of his five attempts against the Wizards. His play rapidly eroded this season after a breakthrough second year in the NBA.

His frustration reached its boiling point when he publicly ranted over his lack of touches in the starting unit. It led to his demotion to the bench. But even in the departure of Quickley and RJ Barrett, Grimes failed to take advantage.

His decreasing playing time despite the Knicks shorthanded rotation signals that Tom Thibodeau has lost faith in Grimes, who was untouchable in the Donovan Mitchell trade talks.

RJ Barrett Resents Spot-up Role in Knicks Offense

RJ Barrett is relieved that he is no longer just a stationary player in the corner in the Knicks offense. That role perfectly suited Anunoby, who is a way better catch-and-shoot 3-pointer than Barrett. 

“That’s not me,” Barrett told New York Post’s Stefan Bondy. “I enjoy playing free moving. So I’m enjoying the playing style here (in Toronto).”

Through his first nine games with his home team, Barrett is thriving with his hometown team averaging 20.6 points, 7.2 rebounds and 3.3 assists while shooting 56.9% from the field and 43.2% from 3.

The Canadian wing is playing more efficient basketball in the 15th-ranked Raptors’ pace than the Knicks’ bottom-four pace.

Barrett will return to New York on Saturday, January 20, to face his former team for the first time since the trade.

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