Home » Cam Reddish trade means every move is on table of Knicks

Cam Reddish trade means every move is on table of Knicks

by TLD

ATLANTA — Continuity became the buzzword after the Knicks’ modest free-agent haul last August, but that’s out the window now after the Thursday trade with the Hawks for Cam Reddish.

Knicks president Leon Rose doesn’t talk to the media, but his actions spoke volumes as he added a lateral wing in the 22-year-old Reddish, with the idea of stockpiling assets.

The feeling around the league is the move is a precursor to a bigger one.

It gave the Knicks flexibility in perhaps being more comfortable trading RJ Barrett — or even Julius Randle — in a megadeal. The idea is Reddish has underachieved in his first three seasons since he was made the 10th-overall pick in 2019 and that he could emerge as a more versatile player than Barrett.

Reddish, the Knicks believe, can play three positions, including power forward, in this small-ball league.

Cam Reddish
NBAE via Getty Images

Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau admitted Friday that adding Reddish without removing a player from the rotation creates a dilemma. That’s especially true now that Thibodeau has fallen in love with rookie shooting guard Quentin Grimes — who was Atlanta’s first priority in the trade, even if the Hawks passed on him twice in the draft.

One faction of Knicks personnel men wanted to trade back from No. 3 in a deal with Atlanta to have a chance at Reddish in the 2019 draft. Knicks general manager Scott Perry held firm and wanted Barrett, whom the team selected with that third pick.

Interestingly, Thibodeau discussed the oft-injured Reddish as he might talk about a player on a 10-day contract. Yes, Thibodeau complimented Reddish’s skill-set,but he then offered up: “It gives us an opportunity to look at Cam. We’ll see when he gets here, see how he fits in and then we’ll go from there. We’ll see how it unfolds. … We’re loaded at the wing position right now, so we’ll see.”

When Kemba Walker returns, presumably as a starting point guard, Thibodeau won’t be able to play all the wings he has. Something will have to give, although Reddish is not quite ready to perform yet because of a sprained ankle.

According to multiple sources, Rose and adviser William Wesley have played it very conservatively since after acquiring Derrick Rose from the Pistons nearly a year ago. The Knicks’ brass loved the team’s camaraderie, chemistry and record and didn’t want to mess with what they had built. They were all but silent at the trade deadline last season.

Knicks
RJ Barrett and Julius Randle
Charles Wenzelberg/New York Post

“They were very conscious of how a new player would fit in the locker room,’’ one NBA source said.

Now it’s clear the roster, as constructed, might just be a play-in team in the improved Eastern Conference as other teams have passed them by. The Knicks (21-21) stood in 10th place in the East entering their game Saturday night against the Hawks.

A lot of interesting trade candidates are expected to emerge before the Feb. 10 deadline, and the Knicks still need a potent point guard with the physically ailing Walker and Rose showing their age this season.

It is worth noting that Perry, in his brief stay as the Kings’ VP of basketball operations in 2017, selected De’Aaron Fox, out of Kentucky, with the fifth pick less than a month before taking the Knicks job. At the time, it wasn’t so much a no-brainer. There are persistent rumors Fox is available due to Tyrese Haliburton’s solidness.

The Mavericks still haven’t afforded former Villanova point guard Jalen Brunson a contract extension and he has made another leap this season. As The Post has reported multiple times, the Knicks have had Brunson on their radar.

Brunson’s father is Rick Brunson — Leon Rose’s initial client when he started his sports agency business out of Cherry Hill, N.J. Thibodeau has had the elder Brunson on his staff for years before he rejoined the Knicks.

With “T-Day’’ approaching in 3 ¹/₂ weeks, the Mavericks are certainly capable of moving Brunson before the 2018 second-round pick becomes an unrestricted free agent.

The Knicks already contacted the Mavericks sometime in the past about Brunson, an NBA source said.

“They want him bad,’’ the NBA source said.

The Knicks also reportedly contacted the Pistons, about on-the-block power forward Jerami Grant, and the Pacers, regarding stretch-big Myles Turner.

Pistons
Jerami Grant
USA TODAY Sports

One league source also said Atlanta power forward John Collins, despite signing a new long-term teal after a protracted negotiate, also could be made available in the future if the Hawks don’t start jelling.

As The Post has reported, the Knicks were in the mix for Grant when he was a free agent in 2020 and signed with Detroit. That’s before Randle became an All-Star.

There are indications the Knicks might not be as sold as they were in August on Randle, who signed a four-year contract extension. Despite his sensational season of 2020-21, Randle is potentially feeling the pressure of being the face of the franchise in New York is too much for him.

The Knicks encouraged Randle to write his apology on Instagram (likely written by his Creative Artists Agency team) after he told fans to “shut the f–k up’’ after the Jan. 6 victory over the Celtics. But Randle has refused to elaborate on it with the media, against which he seemed to declare war for negative coverage of his season.

It is fair to speculate whether Randle is completely sold on remaining in New York for the duration of his deal. Randle said last season on more than one occasion he wanted to retire as a Knick.

Kevin Knox is gone in the Reddish deal. But let’s be honest, no Knick is an untouchable now.

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