With the NBA trade deadline rapidly approaching, many clubs reported as being open to making a move may have to start evaluating what exactly they’d be willing to give up in order to execute any desired transactions, and, for the New York Knicks, it appears the “what” regarding one particular trade option has already been revealed.
According to a January 30 report by Michael Scotto of HoopsHype, the Utah Jazz are seemingly looking to acquire something in the ballpark of a first-round pick in exchange for the services of shooting guard Malik Beasley.
“Utah’s Malik Beasley and Jarred Vanderbilt have been discussed in trade talks with several teams around the league. In those conversations, Utah has given the indication that it would take the equivalent of a first-round pick to acquire each player, league sources told HoopsHype,” per Scotto.
A legitimate spark-plug scorer, since 2019-20 Beasley has found himself posting per-game averages of 13.5 points, 3.2 rebounds, and 1.6 assists on 37.9% shooting from distance whilst predominantly coming off the bench.
Now in his first season with the Jazz, the 26-year-old is continuing to show his worth as a highly talented reserve player, as he’s putting up 13.6 points, 3.6 rebounds, and 1.7 assists through 52 games played and ranks first among bench players in 3-pointers made this season with 114.
Beasley has been a player linked to the Knicks for some time now and SNY’s Ian Begley stated during a January 11 episode of “Begley’s Mailbag” that though their previous pursuits of the guard may have fallen short, at this year’s deadline he should be considered “somebody that they could reengage” in trade talks for.
Beasley Could Help Knicks’ Late-Game Struggles
Malik Beasley is a proven scorer in this league and, despite what some may believe, the Knicks could certainly use more of such assets within their arsenal.
Though their offense may rank eighth in the association from a rating standpoint (115.1), they place a middling 16 overall in points per game (114.3) and a putrid 25 overall in effective field goal percentage (52.5%).
What’s more worrisome, however, is the club’s production during the latter portion of games this season, and, in the eyes of Knicks Fan TV’s CP “The Franchise,” Beasley is someone that could help New York bolster its play on the more glamorous side of the ball.
“How about Malik Beasley? That’s the guy I’ve always liked on the Knicks. 13 points per game, he’s at about 36% from (distance), good pull-up shooter, good catch-and-shoot shooter as well. Gives you some scoring versatility off of the bench…How about adding Malik Beasley to the bench and give the bench a little bit of a lift because part of the problem is when the Knicks are going into the fourth quarter, number one, (Thibodeau) isn’t staggering the lineup properly and you’re leaving too many guys on your bench out there to get exposed…they’re not getting enough scoring.
“So then the coach has to pull the plug early, he’s got to go back to his starters…They need some playmaking, they need some scoring off the bench. I would look at a guy like Malik Beasley,” he said during a January 24 discussion on Bleacher Report.
According to the KFTV creator, a major reason for their lowly production late in games this season is due to the fact that they have received little to no help from their bench unit from an offensive perspective, thus leaving their starters completely gassed in crunch time.
In his opinion, Beasley could prove to be a talent that can help bolster their strength in this department and, in turn, rack up more wins along the way.
Knicks Coach Claps Back at ‘Playoff or Bust’ Pressure
Currently sitting in the seventh seed out in the Eastern Conference standings with a record of 27-24 many anticipate that the Knicks will ultimately find themselves nabbing their second playoff berth over the last decade, and owner James Dolan is one of those who envisions such an accomplishment taking place.
However, should they fail to do so, there’s a real fear that fans and media pundits alike will look at the 2022-23 campaign as a whole and consider it as being a wasted season.
Though to some this could be viewed as rather high-pressure stakes, Tom Thibodeau seems far from phased by such notions, as Zach Braziller of the New York Post shared in a January 29 piece that the head coach stated he feels that his daily efforts quell any possible stressors that come with leading one of the game’s most storied franchises.
“I never feel pressure because I know what I put into each day,” Thibodeau said before the loss to the Nets, via the New York Post. “I think anybody who puts everything they have into each day, you never feel pressure.
“I never worry about that stuff. Hey look, for me, I look at Jim as — is he giving us everything we need to be successful? Yes. So, go out there and give him everything we have. Hopefully, we have the team that does that, so we want him to have belief in the team. I think that’s good.”
Despite his confidence, there is a popular belief that the two-time Coach of the Year winner could be fighting for more than just a playoff seed for his team this season, as an anonymous Eastern Conference general manager told Heavy Sports’ NBA Insider Sean Deveney that Thibodeau “could get fired” if the Knicks finish in the 10 seed or lower come year’s end.
Should New York part ways with Thibodeau, another league executive informed Deveney that Leon Rose and company could set their sights on pursuing a certain cross-borough rival as his replacement.