Knicks Trade Proposal Swaps Bad Contract & Pick for Backcourt Marksman

Evan Fournier Knicks-Pistons

Getty New York Knicks wing Evan Fournier on the court during a game against the Detroit Pistons.

The New York Knicks have clearly taken a step or two forward with the addition of Jalen Brunson, not to mention Julius Randle recovering from his disastrous 2021-22. However, the club continues to have multiple spots that need shoring up before anyone can call it a factor in the newly-dominant East.

One of the bigger items still requiring a checkmark is more shooting. For the year, the Knicks’ have logged an effective field-goal percentage of 52.1, a figure that ranks just 26th in the NBA. Meanwhile, New York’s 11.8 three-point makes per contest and 33.9% conversion rate are both below league average.

With the Knicks’ starting lineup essentially locked — the only question with the first five currently is which pivot will be stepping in for Mitchell Robinson —  they’ll have to add to the bench if they’re hoping to feature more stroke.

By attaching a pick to Evan Fournier’s contract, they may just be able to swing a deal with a West rival for a legitimate deep threat (who Tom Thibodeau won’t have to hide on the other end).

Proposed Deal Brings Malik Beasley to the Knicks

After disappointing in a key role for the Knicks last season, Fournier has become a forgotten man in 2022-23. However, the team is going to be over the cap whether it hangs onto him or not, so there’s no need to take a bad deal costing them an asset just to shed his bloated contract.

That said, a trade netting the Knicks a long-term piece with floor-spacing ability and playoff experience would be worth a pick. With that in mind, we’re proposing the following:

  • Utah Jazz receive G/F Evan Fournier and a first-round pick in 2025 (via MIL)
  • New York Knicks receive G Malik Beasley

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 above 38% for his career). Moreover, he can likely be had for this kind of package.

Per longtime league insider Marc Stein, the Jazz are taking calls on all of their players not named Lauri Markkanen or Walker Kessler. And if Danny Ainge has proven anything with his dealings since the summer, it’s that he holds first-round draft picks in the highest esteem.

Utah also has just enough room under the luxury tax apron to take on Fournier’s deal, which will become very movable as an expiring salary in the not-so-distant future (there’s a team option on the $19 million he’s owed in 2024-25).

At the least, it’s food for thought.

Former Knick Lands With New Squad

Fans who were around for the doldrums that were the latter Carmelo Anthony years will likely remember Cleanthony Early. The Wichita State product and consensus All-American played parts of two seasons for the Knicks, averaging 4.3 points and 2.2 boards across 56 appearances, from 2014 to ’16.

For the last six-plus years, however, he has been living the life of a hardwood vagabond. To that end, the 31-year-old just found his latest hardwood home. Per an announcement from the team on Saturday, Early has signed on the dotted line with Dynamo Lebanon of the Lebanese Basketball League.

The team — which hasn’t lost a domestic league game since October 23 (that’s 10 straight wins) — is expecting Early to be available for the 2023 Dubai International Basketball Championships, which will run from January 27 to February 5 in the United Arab Emirates.

Early last played for the TaiwanBeer HeroBears of the T1 League. In December, he broke the league’s scoring record with a 56-point game.

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