Without the face of the franchise, Kristaps Porzingis, the New York Knicks aren’t expected to make an impact in the Eastern Conference this season. As of now, the Knicks are focused on the development of their young players and aiming to acquire a lottery pick in the 2019 NBA draft. However, when the season is over, the Knicks are planning to be aggressive on the market, searching for a legitimate NBA superstar that could help them return to title contention.
The Knicks could open up a huge chunk of their salary cap space in the summer of 2019. However, in order to have enough money to give the likes of Kevin Durant a maximum contract, the Knicks should consider making another roster move. According to Dan Favale of Bleacher Report, one of the NBA players the Knicks could trade before the February NBA trade deadline is Tim Hardaway, Jr.
In the proposed trade deal, the Knicks would send Tim Hardaway, Jr. and a 2020 second-round pick to the Jazz in exchange for Ricky Rubio. The deal works on ESPN‘s NBA Trade Machine.
Trading Hardaway for Ricky Rubio’s expiring contract helps the Knicks open up $46 million in salary cap space, which is more than enough to sign any max free agent next summer. If the Knicks succeed in finding takers for Courtney Lee and Frank Ntilikina, they will free up $60 million to spend in the 2019 NBA free agency. The Knicks shouldn’t mind sacrificing a second-round pick if they are confident that they could acquire a superstar to pair with Kristaps Porzingis.
The deal will not only be beneficial for the Knicks, but also for the Jazz. Tim Hardaway, Jr. will give them a reliable scoring option next to Donovan Mitchell. This season, the 26-year-old shooting guard is averaging 20.6 points, 3.3 rebounds, and 2.9 assists on 39.5 percent shooting from the field, and 35.1 percent shooting from beyond the arc.
“The Jazz’s need for another shot creator predates Gordon Hayward’s exit. They’re verging on desperate for one now. Forfeiting cap space is a fair price to pay for Hardaway. Ricky Rubio, who’s dealing with lower back and left knee injuries, isn’t playing well enough to be a real loss — especially with Dante Exum perking up — and Utah has yet to establish itself as a premier free-agent destination. Plus, even with Hardaway on the books, the Jazz have a clear path to more than $15 million in room if they renounce all their own free agents and waive all their non-guarantees except for Korver.”
As of now, it remains unknown if the Knicks and the Jazz have any plan of engaging in a trade negotiation involving Tim Hardaway, Jr. and Ricky Rubio. Expect more rumors to circulate before the February NBA trade deadline.