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  • David Cytryn

Knicks - Hawks Trade Review

The Knicks and the Hawks made a splash in the trade market a few days ago by agreeing to swap two former lottery picks and a few other pieces as well. This may not be the last trade for either team this year as they have both somewhat underperformed based on their preseason expectations. Here is a review of the exact details of the trade and how each side fared.

New York Knicks (Grade B+)

The big name acquired in this trade is Cam Reddish. He was the 10th overall pick in 2019, but he has not yet performed up to his superstar potential. Through his first two and a half seasons, Reddish averaged 11.1 points per game, 1.4 assists, and 3.4 rebounds on 38.5% shooting from the field and 32.9% from three. Reddish has also been effective on the defense end, averaging 1.1 steals per game for his career.

Reddish is a 22 year old, athletic, 6’ 8” wing that will fit in perfectly with the Knicks’ system. Coach Thibodeau will love the versatility he brings on the defensive end as he can effectively guard 2-4 and maybe even switch on to a point guard in certain situations. He has also improved this season on his shooting numbers with a 40% field goal percentage, 38% three point percentage, and a 90% free throw percentage. The Knicks have shot very inconsistently this year and Reddish has a smooth-looking stroke, which gives them another option to go to when in need of some scoring.

Reddish will also improve the locker room chemistry for the Knicks. Him and budding star RJ Barrett played together at Duke and have already expressed excitement about reuniting.

Reddish has had his team option picked up for the 2022 season already and his contract has a potential qualifying offer available for the 2023 season, or else he will become a restricted free agent. At around $5 million for next year and $8 million for the following, the Knicks may have gotten a steal in this trade. Reddish has the potential to be a solid role player for the Knicks this season and it is definitely reasonable to believe he could become an effective starter for them in the future.

Reddish is dealing with a right ankle sprain and may take some time before he returns to action with the Knicks.

The Knicks also acquired the deadweight contract of Solomon Hill that expires at the end of the year. He’s making around $2 million this year but is out for the rest of the season with a torn hamstring. The Knicks will likely let go of him after this season, and they only undertook his contract because Atlanta wanted to free up some cap space.

Finally, the Knicks received a 2025 second round pick via the Nets, which could be used in future trades, or to pick a player. Second round picks can prove to be successful, like Mitchell Robinson, but we will have to wait and see how it is used.

Ryan Arcidiacono, who did not see any game action with the Knicks, was waived as a result of the trade.

Atlanta Hawks (Grade B-)

The main acquisition for the Hawks in this trade was the Knicks’ former number 9 overall pick, Kevin Knox. Knox has seen his minutes decline over the last few years as he played 28.8 minutes per game in his rookie year, compared to his abysmal 8.5 per game so far this season. For his career he has averaged 8.2 points per game, 0.8 assists, and 3.1 rebounds on 36.9% shooting from the field and 34.6% from three.

At only 22 years old, Knox has all of the tools to be a valuable NBA player. He’s 6’ 7”, has a wide frame, and above-average athleticism. His shooting mechanics are solid, and he has shown the ability, at times, to finish strong at the rim. However, Knox has not seen much success since his rookie season. Defensively, he is not quite sound enough for Thib’s system and has seen less and less playing time each season. He has also seemingly struggled with confidence issues at times as his shooting percentages have fluctuated over his career despite his strong shooting form.

Knox was never really given a full opportunity to prove himself since he was a rookie and had become a full-time benchwarmer for the Knicks. It may be the same in Atlanta as the Hawks have an abundance of wings, but if they give Knox a shot, he can certainly give them an offensive spark off of the bench. If he works on his discipline and defensive techniques, he may see even more time as well.

Knox is in the last year of his contract, making almost $6 million, before a potential qualifying offer next year for about $8 million. It remains to be seen whether the Hawks will give him that offer, or let him become a restricted free agent in the offseason.

The Hawks also received a 2022 first round draft pick via the Hornets. The pick is top 18 protected this year, top 16 in 2023, and top 14 in 2024 and 2025. If it is not used before 2026, it will become two second round picks. The Hornets have looked pretty good so far this season, so we may have to wait at least a year or two before the pick might be eligible to be used.

This trade appears to be one based on potential and not performance. Both Reddish and Knox are only 22 years old and have not lived up to their lottery-pick projections thus far in their careers. However, with each in a new system, they have an opportunity to prove themselves and establish a new role with a new organization. At first glance, it seems the Knicks may have won the trade as they have suggested Reddish will play a significant part in their future rotation. However, Knox has a lot of untapped potential, and a first round pick always has the possibility of being a valuable trade piece or a solid NBA player. Only time will tell which team really came out on top.

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