With the trade deadline just over a week away, all fans and media pundits can seem to talk about is who the New York Knicks could look to execute a deal for to bolster their roster for a second-half playoff push.
Though Shams Charania of The Athletic recently reported that the club could find itself pursuing the likes of Toronto Raptors budding star OG Anunoby by the time February 9 rolls around, some could make the argument that Leon Rose and company should strongly consider looking toward more cost-efficient and perhaps less risky options that could be available on the market.
One route the Knicks could opt to embark on is a deal for San Antonio Spurs veteran wing Josh Richardson.
Here’s an outline of what a potential trade could look like:
New York Knicks receive:
- Josh Richardson
- 2024 second-round pick (From SAS, via LAL)
San Antonio Spurs receive:
- Evan Fournier
- Cam Reddish
HoopsHype’s Michael Scotto reported on January 23 that the Spurs have made the 29-year-old Richardson available on the trade block, and are seeking “a second-round pick” for his services.
Though in this proposal it’s San Antonio who is seen coughing up a second-rounder, such a move could ultimately prove to be well worth it for both parties involved.
Why The Spurs Do It
As has been the case over the last couple of seasons, the once dynastic Spurs are now looking to embark on a full-fledged rebuild and, generally speaking, teams within this phase tend to prioritize two assets in specific: draft capital and youthful talents.
With this deal, the franchise brings on the latter right away in the form of fourth-year forward Cam Reddish while also acquiring the potential to add additional draft picks in the years to come, perhaps even more than what Richardson could net them in a deal at this year’s deadline.
Though some may view Evan Fournier as a mere salary-matcher in this proposed exchange, one could argue that he could be viewed as a highly valuable asset that could be used down the road for San Antonio.
His current trade value may be extremely low, as he’s played just 20 out of the team’s 52 games and is slated to make a potential total of $37 million over the next two seasons, but should the Spurs bring Fourier to town at the deadline, unlike the Knicks, they could afford to play him in extended minutes to try and showcase his skillset over the final stretch of the season and, in turn, look to then flip him for more assets during the summer or, should they look to wait to bring his financial commitment closer to its conclusion, at around next season’s trade deadline.
During the six seasons leading up to being pulled from Tom Thibodeau’s rotation in 2022-23, the wing was found posting impressive averages of 16.4 points, 3.0 assists, 2.9 rebounds, and 1.0 steals on 37.8% shooting from distance.
Acquiring this potential along with a recent lottery-selected talent in Reddish who has shown flashes of what made him the number 10 pick back in 2019, particularly during the four-game stretch leading up to his late-November groin injury sustained this season where he was posting 16.5 points, 2.3 rebounds, and 2.3 steals on 53.5% shooting from the floor, may not be the “second-round pick” Scotto stated the Spurs are looking for, but, in the end, it could prove to be a lot more valuable of a haul.
Why The Knicks Do It
An anonymous NBA executive told Heavy Sports earlier this season that one of the biggest weak spots on this year’s New York Knicks team is their lack of “high-level perimeter defenders” and, while they may rank fifth in opponent 3-point percentage (34.9%), their opponents convert the second-most 3-pointers per game (13.3), have accumulated the third most 3-pointers in total (389), and, as a team, rank just 17 in defensive rating (113.6).
Because of this, New York may seriously want to look into acquiring some defensive help out on the wing come the deadline, and Josh Richardson, in specific, has made a name for himself as being a trusty two-way contributor.
A career journeyman who has suited up for five different teams throughout his professional tenure, Richardson sports averages of 20.2 points, 5.3 rebounds, 4.6 assists, 1.8 steals, and 1.0 blocks per 100 possessions whilst shooting 36.5% from distance.
Since arriving in San Antonio at last year’s trade deadline, the wing has quickly become one of head coach Gregg Popovich’s most consistent players, as he finds himself posting averages of 11.3 points, 2.9 assists, 2.8 rebounds, and just shy of a steal per game on 38.9% shooting from deep.
It has been reported by NBA Insider Marc Stein that the Knicks have been “angling” to trade Cam Reddish for 3-and-D veteran Reggie Bullock from the Dallas Mavericks, thus indicating the franchise may be looking to improve upon their wing play on both ends of the floor.
Should this be the case, someone like Josh Richardson could be seen as an intriguing target to consider pursuing, and a deal such as this that involves Fournier’s remaining salary heading outbound could easily prove to be the ideal transaction for New York to make.
Though a trade that sees Toronto’s OG Anunoby coming to the Big Apple may be a more noteworthy move from a name and status perspective, considering he could cost the franchise three first-round picks, a low-cost pivot for the Spurs veteran who provides a similar skillset should strongly be in consideration for the Knicks.