Pitched Trade Would Net Knicks a 3-and-D Specialist at the Deadline

Robert Covington Knicks-Blazers

Getty Portland Trail Blazers forward Robert Covington reacts during a game against the New York Knicks.

As ever, the New York Knicks are said to have an interest in some of the top trade targets around the Association. Whether the team actually has avenues toward acquiring them or not, players like Damian Lillard, Ben Simmons and Jerami Grant have all been floated as potential targets.

With the NBA trade deadline looming, though, there’s a chance that the team will instead opt to work in the margins. For his part, Bleacher Report’s Jake Fischer reported that New York “appears more likely to tinker around the edges than swing for such a difference-maker.”

That said, the Knicks could still procure a piece to help them re-energize their efforts on the court this season, even if that piece lacks marquee name value.

In a B/R piece pitching trade ideas for the “Biggest Buyers and Sellers” at the deadline, Dan Favale put out a hypothetical trade that would see the Knicks add a two-way talent who might be the league’s prototypical role player.


Favale: Knicks Could Acquire Robert Covington


Robert Covington 2020-21 Season Highlights | Trail Blazers𝗦𝗨𝗕𝗦𝗖𝗥𝗜𝗕𝗘 » rip.city/YouTubeSubscribe 𝗙𝗔𝗖𝗘𝗕𝗢𝗢𝗞 » facebook.com/trailblazers 𝗧𝗪𝗜𝗧𝗧𝗘𝗥 » twitter.com/trailblazers 𝗜𝗡𝗦𝗧𝗔𝗚𝗥𝗔𝗠 » instagram.com/trailblazers 𝗧𝗜𝗞𝗧𝗢𝗞 » rip.city/tiktok 💻 Visit our website for the latest news, videos, podcasts, photos and more: trailblazers.com 🎙 Listen to Trail Blazers podcasts: trailblazers.com/podcasts 📺 Watch Trail Blazers games on NBC Sports Northwest: nbcsports.com/northwest/ 🏀 Subscribe to NBA League Pass » rip.city/LeaguePass 📱…2021-06-25T18:27:27Z

As Favale points out, the Trail Blazers currently find themselves in a strange spot. They’ve wildly underperformed, but unless he asks out of Portland, they’re not moving Lillard and engaging in a full-on rebuild.

Moreover, the team is probably in a holding pattern where making major moves is concerned as an interim GM is currently calling the shots. On the other hand, the time is nigh for the team to shed money and avoid the luxury tax, if possible.

As part of that effort, Favale has proposed the following trade with the Knicks:

  • Blazers get: Nerlens Noel, New York’s 2022 second-round pick (top-44 protection)
  • Knicks get: Robert Covington

Where the Blazers are concerned, a Covington-Noel swap would get the team out of the tax. Meanwhile, Noel’s rim protection could be a great fit for a club trying to institute a defensive approach under first-year coach Chauncey Billups. However, the Knicks would get something out of the move, too.

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RoCo Could Fill the Reggie Bullock Role

Although the Knicks were able to bring in free agents like Kemba Walker and Evan Fournier and re-sign some of their key contributors to multi-year deals, the club was nonetheless shaken by Reggie Bullock’s departure. After all, the veteran wing was a huge part of the team’s playoff run last season.

Starting in 64 of his 65 appearances, Bullock put up 10.9 points and 3.4 rebounds per contest while nailing 41% of his triples. He also served as a nice complement to All-Star big man Reggie Bullock in the first five.

As it stands, the Knicks haven’t really found a player who can provide all of the same things that he did. Covington could be that guy, though.

From a physical standpoint, the two players are eerily similar. And Covington is a career 11.7-point scorer and a 36% three-point shooter. He’s also a strong, instinctual defender with a good sense of timing and a knack for being in the right spot. In other words, he’s a player who could really win Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau over.

This particular deal would cost the Knicks a solid contributor in Noel but, as Favale notes, “The Knicks can survive. They have about-to-be-paid Mitchell Robinson and Taj Gibson and should experiment more with Julius Randle-Obi Toppin lineups.”

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