With the NBA trade deadline looming at 3 p.m. ET on Thursday, the Knicks should be sellers, not buyers.
Following Sunday's loss to the lowly Atlanta Hawks, the Knicks are 23-31, and sit four games behind the Philadelphia 76ers for the No. 8 seed in the East. It looks like the Knicks will miss the playoffs for a fifth straight season dating to their 2013 loss to the Indiana Pacers in the second round.
"I would definitely try to just acquire as many as assets for the future as I could," longtime NBA agent Keith Glass told SNY.tv in reference to the Knicks.
The Knicks are treating the trade deadline with an "opportunistic" approach, one source familiar with their way of thinking said.
The franchise appears to have several options leading up to the deadline.
Willy Hernangomez, one of five centers on the Knicks roster, has reportedly asked to be traded, according to Yahoo Sports, although ESPN's Ian Begley reported no formal trade request was made.
The 23-year-old has played in just 25 of the Knicks' 54 games, while averaging 4.4 points, 2.6 rebounds and 9.2 minutes. The Knicks have opted not to play Hernangomez despite the fact that he made the All-Rookie first team a year ago, and the team is focused on developing its young core of Kristaps Porzingis, Frank Ntilikina and Tim Hardaway Jr. Though he is a below-the-rim player who is less mobile than the ideal five man in today's NBA, the team should be able to get something in return.
The Knicks probably wouldn't get a first-round pick in exchange for the Spanish big man, but could turn him into a second-round pick to add to the one first-round and two second-rounders they already have.
"I'm kind of excited to see what happens," Hernangomez told Newsday of the trade deadline.
Kyle O'Quinn, the Queens native averaging 6.6 points and 5.7 rebounds, is another possible trade chip. A good locker room guy and a powerful dunker, O'Quinn has a player option for $4.2 million next season, so the Knicks might want to get something in return before he bolts in free agency.
Also on the center front, the Knicks must determine what to do with Joakim Noah, who was sent home after a verbal altercation with head coach Jeff Hornacek. In one of the worst contracts the Knicks have absorbed in recent memory, Noah is signed for two seasons after this, one up to $38 million. Behind the scenes, they are exploring their options, such as a trade or a buyout.
They could attach their first-round draft pick to facilitate a trade, but that wouldn't be prudent, especially given how strong the top of the 2018 draft class is.
The Knicks currently have just a 4 percent chance of landing a top-3 pick via Talkathon.com, but if their winning percentage drops to around 35 percent from its current 43 percent to finish the season, they would increase their odds of getting a top-3 pick to 18.3 percent. Obviously, the more they lose down the stretch, the better their odds of being in contention for a player like Luka Dončić of Real Madrid, Deandre Ayton of Arizona, Marvin Bagley III of Duke, Trae Young of Oklahoma or Mohamed Bamba of Texas, a Harlem, N.Y., native.
In addition to trading from the glut of centers, the Knicks could create more cap space by dealing wing Courtney Lee, who has a manageable $25 million left on his contract for the next two years.
Lee, 32, is shooting 42 percent from downtown, so the Knicks could sell him now to enable more long-term flexibility.
"If I can get an asset back for Courtney Lee, I'd do it," Glass said.
Enes Kanter, who has a player option next season for $18.6 million, is averaging 14.5 points and 10.0 rebounds, and has been a driving force in what success the Knicks have enjoyed this year. He's also a tremendous locker room guy, so the Knicks should hold on to him.
Even if New York winds up in the lottery, or the upper part of the lottery, both the Knicks and their fans should be wary of a quick fix.
"Even if you acquire assets, you've got to deploy them properly," Glass said. "They're putting so much credence into these draft classes, and these draft classes are full of 19-year-old kids.
"You're getting people mass produced by AAU programs, couple that with the one-and-done. They're the new savior of the franchise. They're not saviors, there's very few individual players that are saviors. It's more than just bad contracts and caps, it's all related to this never-ending cycle that the Knicks have been in where everybody's the next savior."
He added: "You're not going to make it in the draft alone. The best you can hope for is you have flexibility and that you make good choices in the draft and in free agency. And they haven't."
Glass believes that stems from the philosophy that New York teams don't believe their fans will allow a decent rebuild.
"They're fantastic fans and they'll support whatever you want to do," Glass said. "You know what Knicks fans would've supported these last 30 years? Effort. If you play your [butt] off in New York, they will support you. They've demonstrated that."