The New York Knicks seem to be heavily invested in trying to acquire star guard Donovan Mitchell this summer and, according to reports, they feel confident in their ability to offer up the best package for him.
That said, due to Utah’s rather lofty trade demands Leon Rose and company have been reported as being “turned off” by the ball club’s asking price, which could result in the possibility of the Knickerbockers looking into other possible moves to better bolster their roster.
Though New York’s sights are obviously set on Mitchell, in an August 25 article The Athletic’s Fred Katz discussed numerous alternative trade targets the franchise could, in theory, consider pursuing.
Of the names mentioned, perhaps the most high-profile player is Portland Trail Blazers combo forward Jerami Grant, who, in Katz’s eyes, could be viewed as a “short-term-rental.”
“Going down the speculative short-term-rental wormhole again, if the Blazers fall below the Play-In Tournament, maybe they feel pressure to get something back for Jerami Grant, whom they just acquired for a late first-round pick this summer.”
Katz did note that he does not believe there to be “an intuitive next-in-line player” should the Knicks fail to trade for Mitchell, though stated that should their efforts to land the star guard fail a “purely speculative” possible pivot would be for the team to pursue players on expiring deals.
Grant’s current contract will come to an end come the conclusion of the 2022-23 season, where he will then become an unrestricted free agent.
Grant Has Been Linked to Knicks Before
Jerami Grant has managed to bump his league status up quite considerably over the last few years, going from being considered a solid role player with the Philadelphia 76ers (2014-2016), OKC Thunder (2016-2019), and Denver Nuggets (2019-2020) to a borderline All-Star with the Detroit Pistons (2020-2022).
Since putting pen to paper on his current three-year, $60 million deal the forward has become quite a force to be reckoned with, posting impressive per-game averages of 20.9 points, 4.4 rebounds, 2.6 assists, and 1.1 blocks on 35% shooting from distance.
The Pistons, opting to embark on a full-fledged rebuild, traded Grant to the Trail Blazers on July 6 in a package deal that landed them a top-four protected 2025 first-round pick (via Milwaukee), the draft rights to Gabriele Procida, and two future second round picks.
For Portland, this move seems to be a last-ditch effort to convince centerpiece Damian Lillard that they can properly build a competitive rotation around him, as they’re coming off of a playoff-less 27-55 campaign and have advanced past the first round just once over the last six seasons.
However, as Katz insinuated, should they struggle this year and fall short of their goals of being a top-eight seed in the Western Conference standings, they could be inclined to flip Grant via trade in an effort to nab something in return before possibly losing him for nothing come the offseason.
This, of course, is where he believes the Knicks could come into play, as they’ve shown interest in acquiring him in the past.
At around the mid-way point of the 2021-22 season, in a January 10 article penned by the Athletic’s Shams Charania New York was one of several organizations who were reported to have pursued the then Pistons star in an in-season trade.
Of course, nothing came out of their efforts as Grant finished off the campaign still in Detroit
Knicks Urged to Pursue OKC Guard
Outside of Jerami Grant, the Knicks have been attached to several other players across the league who could, in theory, serve as alternative options to Mitchell.
One, in specific, is actually a former teammate of the forward’s in Shai Gilgeous-Alexander who the folks at the “It’s a Hard Knicks Life” podcast suggested the franchise should consider sending an offer in Oklahoma City’s direction for.
Last season, the fourth-year rising-star combo guard took part in a career-best campaign where he posted stellar averages of 24.5 points, 5.9 assists, 5.0 rebounds, 1.3 steals, and just shy of a block per game.