Following their first playoff berth in over eight years, the New York Knicks are hoping to ride the momentum of a winning season into the summer and free agency.
What that means for some of the younger members of the roster is unclear.
Last year’s eighth overall pick Obi Toppin was buried on the bench behind the rise of Julius Randle, who in his seventh career season went from role player to All-NBA and All-Star forward.
22-year old Frank Ntilikina, the eighth overall pick from the 2017 NBA Draft, is headed for restricted free agency, and there’s little faith that he’ll return to the Knicks on a new deal.
Then there’s 21-year old Kevin Knox, who is entering the last year of his rookie deal after being drafted by New York with the ninth overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft.
One analyst thinks his chances of returning to the Knicks next season are low, potentially the lowest among them.
Hughes: Knox Has ‘Regressed’ Over Three Years
In his latest piece for Bleacher Report, Every NBA Team’s Player Most Likely to Be Traded This Summer, Grant Hughes picked one player from each NBA team that he considers having the lowest chances at coming back next year.
When it came to the New York Knicks, the choice was easy; forward Kevin Knox.
Hughes cited the 21-year old’s continued regression as the writing on the wall for his inevitable dismissal:
Picked ninth in 2018, Knox has had three years to validate his physical tools and draft pedigree. But the combo forward, despite ample opportunity afforded by the lack of quality options ahead of him on the depth chart, has regressed. A 39.3 percent conversion rate on three-pointers this past season is really the only positive sign for a player who’s seen his minutes per game go from 28.8 as a rookie to 17.9 as a sophomore to just 11.0 this past year.
He’s not wrong.
There was hope (albeit very little) that a new head coach, an established one like Tom Thibodeau could help to maximize what was once seen as Knox’s potential.
But after a solid start to the year, he quickly fell out of the rotation.
It seems his three minutes in garbage time of their Game Four loss to the Atlanta Hawks may be Kevin Knox’s last minutes played in a New York Knicks uniform.
But not for lack of effort.
Knox Working As Hard As Ever
Kevin Knox’s future with the New York Knicks is as unclear as ever, but he’s back in the gym working on his game, only a month removed from the season.
A video surfaced earlier this week of the former Kentucky product working through handling and shooting drills.
It seems unlikely that Kevin Knox’s latest workout tape will do much to alter his uncertain future with the New York Knicks.
But above all else, once he’s gone, no one will ever be able to bash his work ethic.