The New York Knicks and the Portland Trailblazers are in discussing a trade that would involve one of the three Trailblazers first round picks in the 2017 draft.
The initial trade discussions were reported by Sporting News.
Portland owns the 15th, 20th and 26th selection in this month’s draft.
The Knicks are looking to rebuild while Portland is looking to add talent to a roster that finished as the 8th seed in the West Playoffs this season making the two an ideal trade match.
According to ESPN sources, The Knicks have recently worked out North Carolina players Justin Jackson and Tony Bradley as well as Kentucky Center Bam Adebayo. The Knicks have also worked out Duke sophomore guard Luke Kennard. If the Knicks can grab Kennard, a winning basketball player who can shoot the 3 it can help the Knicks in the future.
These three players would likely be available with the 15th or 20th selection.
A likely trade scenario I can see happening that would be beneficial for both team is as follows:
SG: Evan Turner and the 20th pick
SG: Courtney Lee and C: Kyle O’Quinn
The Knicks make the trade because they are looking to acquire young controllable assets. Courtney Lee was a a decent player last season but is expendable. O’Quinn looked good in flashes as he displayed a strong ability to pass from the post and rebound at a high level. However, both these traits and his team friendly contract makes him a high commodity for Portland.
Evan Turner will be able to act as the Knicks 6th man and be a primary ball handler off the bench. A role much better suited for him. Turner struggled this past season in Portland as he was mostly playing off the ball. He is due 52 million dollars over the next three seasons and that is a significant amount of money but Lee is owed 35 million over the next three years and O’Quinn will be payed 8 over next two years if he opts in for his second year due to his player option. The salaries match according to the NBA trade machine.
At pick 20, the Knicks are able to add a fourth young player to their core. At pick 8 it is likely the Knicks will grab either Dennis Smith, Frank Ntlilkina, or Malik Monk. They can add either one of three players mentioned prior to the Kristaps Porzingis and Willy Hernangomez foundation.
Portland does the deal as a mid level NBA franchise who rather stay competitive than tank to the bottom. Teams like this deserve respect as they try every season to build a competitive roster. Courtney Lee fits much better next to Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum as an off ball three point marksman. Lee was one of the better three point shooters in the NBA last year. This will allow for more floor spacing and Lee is more of upgrade on defense.
O’Quinn is perfectly suited to come off the bench behind Jusuf Nurkic. Portland really struggled until they were able to add a physical presence down low and O’Quinn provides a capable body to assist in that role. O’Quinn is on a team friendly deal and for a team like Portland who is capped out as is, it will be hard for them to add in free agency. The trade route is much more efficient for them and it will be easy to depart one first rounder of three.
It will be interesting to see if this discussion gains more traction. This is a move I’m sure Knicks fans and Portland Fans may be happy with if a deal does indeed go through.
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