The Knicks are playing much better this season, thanks to the growth of should-be All-Star Julius Randle and the coaching acquisition of Tom Thibodeau. They hold a playoff seed in the East right now, but they still do not scare the best teams in the conference. Especially with the injury to starting center Mitchell Robinson, the Knicks simply need more to be a playoff contender.
New York is a city that misses winning, and there are some key steps the franchise can take to improve their rosters and be one of the most competitive teams in the East. Here are the moves the New York Knicks can make to shock everyone and become a playoff contender this season.
Trade For Sharpshooter J.J. Redick
Trade Package: 2 future second-round picks for J.J. Redick
J.J. Redick is not the same player he was, as he is now 36 years of age and is not playing an important role with the young New Orleans Pelicans. Redick is playing 18.0 MPG but is only averaging 8.1 PPG on 36.7% 3-point shooting, well below his career averages of 12.9 PPG and 41.5% shooting.
Redick is not an untouchable player by any means in New Orleans, and he could be available for cheap. The Knicks need a more versatile offense with shooters who know how to create space, and Redick is the perfect option. For 2 second-round picks, the Knicks could lure the sharpshooting veteran for a slightly better shot at the Eastern Conference Finals.
Trade For An All-Star In Victor Oladipo
Trade Package: Kevin Knox, Reggie Bullock, a future second-round pick for Victor Oladipo
The next step the Knicks should do is trade for All-Star Victor Oladipo. Oladipo was the surprising addition to the Houston Rockets roster this season from the James Harden trade, and he has looked quite good on the court. Oladipo is averaging 20.0 PPG, 5.7 RPG, and 4.2 APG on 42.1% shooting this season. Despite playing in a new market, Oladipo has shown he can be a very effective 2-way player.
Oladipo would be the perfect fit for the Knicks. He offers a guy who can score 20+ points and play lock-down defense as well. Oladipo and Randle is a nice All-Star caliber pairing, and with the prior addition of Derrick Rose as well, this team has a lot of scoring options. The Knicks need one more chip to fall their way to make their playoff contention possible.
Sign Andre Drummond In The Buyout Market
Starting center Mitchell Robinson was a big loss for the Knicks. Robinson was averaging 8.4 PPG and 8.4 RPG in 28.8 MPG this season, but his impact goes way beyond numbers. Robinson was the best defensive player on the team, and his athleticism was incredibly useful for the Knicks on offense and defense. He is out with a long-term injury, and the Knicks need a dominant center as soon as possible to help Julius Randle in the paint.
Andre Drummond is currently 2nd in the NBA in rebounds at 13.5 RPG, but the Cleveland Cavaliers will be shutting him down until he is traded or bought out. A buyout means Drummond is available for any team, and the Knicks need to do everything in their power to acquire him. A lineup consisting of Rose, RJ Barrett, Oladipo, Randle, and Drummond is easily a playoff contender in the East.
The Knicks are making the right moves by drafting talented young shooting guard RJ Barrett and signing experienced coach Tom Thibodeau, but these 3 moves before the trade deadline put them in a position to compete as a top-5 team in the East.
Knicks fans want to see competitiveness in New York, and the Knicks luckily have the power to do that. Shrewd roster moves before the trade deadline has not been the strongest aspect of the Knicks organization in recent years, but hopefully, they can get the dominos to fall because the potential for a very good team is there.