5 trades the Knicks can make to improve their roster

Terrence Ross, Lonzo Ball and George Hill treated art

Come Feb. 5, NBA teams will be able to trade their newly signed players, opening up the transaction market and marking the unofficial start to trade season. The Knicks have already appeared in reports and rumors and should be a player given the many directions they can go.

Does Leon Rose upgrade the current roster with their stash of picks to make a run at the postseason? Or flip a piece some contender can find useful for additional assets? Here are five potential trade packages New York could put together:

The easy flip

Knicks get: Late first or multiple second-round picks

Random contender gets: Alec Burks or Reggie Bullock

This likely isn’t a move the Knicks pull as soon as trade season begins, more like a 10-game skid-into-the-deadline type of play. Facing bad odds to make the play-in game, New York could build its asset stash by flipping one (or both) of their veteran wings for picks or young pieces. Both are on expiring deals and aren’t pivotal cogs in the Knicks future, so there’s little reason not to pull the Marcus Morris maneuver unless there’s a postseason berth at stake.

The Pelican plunge

Knicks get: Lonzo Ball or JJ Redick

Pelicans get: Elfrid Payton, Bullock or Burks, Mavericks’ first or two second-round picks

New Orleans is in a nosedive, now 7-10 in a season full of playoff aspirations. Rumors have them shopping both Ball and Redick, which surely have the Knicks doing their due diligence.

Ball would be a defensive upgrade over Payton and another prospect to develop, a former second-overall pick still at 23 years old. Of course, New York would trade for him in order to re-sign him this summer, which won’t be cheap. Redick would bring shooting and veteran experience to the locker room, and likely carry a cheaper price than Ball to acquire and keep.

The Knick-killer

Knicks get: Terrence Ross

Magic get: Frank Ntilikina, Reggie Bullock

New York can use some scoring and creation, and Orlando is in desperate need of some point guard play with Markelle Fultz out. This may not be the return Knicks fans hoped for, for a lottery pick and reliable wing, but Ross is a proven scorer and shooter, including in the playoffs, and this is about the package that can net the Knicks an upgrade without material cost.

Story continues

The return

Knicks get: Derrick Rose

Pistons get: Elfrid Payton, second-round pick

This is only on the list because the Knicks are interested in Rose, who spent one year in New York post-injuries but pre-late career progression. Taking him back now would also reunite him with Tom Thibodeau, who coached him in Chicago and Minnesota.

The question for New York is how much of an upgrade (if at all) is he over Payton, and is the acquisition worth it if Immanuel Quickley is on deck to start anyway? Rose is shooting better from deep but nowhere else, and isn’t a defensive upgrade. However, there are point guards who bring the things Payton and Rose don’t.

The solid upgrade

Knicks get: George Hill

Thunder get: Elfrid Payton, second-round pick

Built like the Rose trade, but going in a different direction. Hill can come in, start until Quickley is ready, spread the floor, defend, and not get in the main guys’ way. More usage and spacing for RJ Barrett and Julius Randle can help turn the offense around, without sacrificing much.


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