Proposed Trade Bolsters Knicks Bench With Sharpshooting Veteran

Evan Fournier Ben Simmond

Getty New York Knicks wing Evan Fournier defends Ben Simmons of the Brooklyn Nets.

A pair of questionable recent losses notwithstanding, the New York Knicks are unequivocably in a better spot than they were at this time a year ago. That said, after breaking the bank to bring in Jalen Brunson and extend RJ Barrett over the summer, Leon Rose and Co. would undoubtedly like to be seeing a greater return on the team’s investment.

To that end, a move to enhance the bench attack could be prioritized by the front office. While New York’s reserves have outscored the opposition this season overall, their combined effective field-goal percentage of 50.5 is tied for the second-worst mark league-wide at the moment.

As ever, shooting is at a premium in the NBA and the Knicks could definitely use a little bit more of it for the stretch run.

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

Knicks Swap a Contract & an Asset for Rockets’ Eric Gordon in Trade Proposal

While Gordon’s efficiency numbers have taken a small hit in 2022-23, the 15-year pro continues to be a solid point-producer in his role. Through 39 apperances with Houston, Gordon is averaging 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:

  • New York Knicks receive G Eric Gordon
  • Houston Rockets receive G/F Evan Fournier and a conditional first-round pick in 2023 (via WAS)

Gordon’s name has been bandied about in trade rumors during every deal-making deadline and offseason since the Rockets decided to pull the plug on their James Harden iteration. Nevertheless, he has remained in the Space City, and his prohibitive contract has almost certainly been a factor in the non-movement.

Even now, as a 34-year-old, he’s set to pull down a hair under $20 million this season. However, that contract issue is going away, as his $20.9 million salary for 2023-24 is non-guaranteed. Meanwhile, Fournier already represents $55.9 million in mostly dead salary between now and his club option year of 2024-25.

So, neither club is altering their books in an earth-shattering way and both stand to gain in other ways.

What The Knicks & Rockets Get Out of the Trade

Whether the Knicks are able to shed Fournier’s salary or not, they’ll be operating as an over-the-cap team where free agency is concerned. So, there’s not a real impetus to give some other team an asset just to take the baller off their books. The potential on-court impact of swapping him could be huge, though.

While Fournier was brought in to be a starting (or, at least, heavy-use) wing, he was dropped from Tom Thibodeau’s rotation this season amid career-low shooting numbers. Gordon, meanwhile, could be penned in as a nightly regular, even if he’s performing in a lesser role than the one he’s currently hanging onto in Houston.

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

Read More