With the Knicks currently sporting the worst record in the Eastern Conference, New York is highly expected to be sellers before the February trade deadline. As of now, most people believe that the Knicks are better off trading their veterans to focus on the development of their young players this season. In the potential deal involving veteran big men Marcus Morris and Taj Gibson, one of the potential trade partners for the Knicks are the Portland Trail Blazers.
In the proposed trade deal offered by Bleacher Report, the Trail Blazers would be sending a trade package including Hassan Whiteside and two future second-round picks to the Knicks in exchange for Morris and Gibson. If the trade becomes a reality, it would definitely help both teams in filling their needs to improve their rosters.
Though they are not the same level as other Trail Blazers’ trade targets, like Kevin Love of the Cleveland Cavaliers and Danilo Gallinari of the Oklahoma City Thunder, Morris and Gibson would still be great additions to Portland. Morris and Gibson would help the Trail Blazers improve their frontcourt, giving them two veteran forwards who are both capable of knocking down shots from beyond the arc.
“Morris and Gibson are two of the vets who may still some trade value. Morris is averaging 18.6 points and shooting 50.0 percent from three on 5.7 attempts per game. That’s significantly more than Portland is getting from Carmelo Anthony, and Morris isn’t nearly as bad on defense. Whiteside’s departure would make Gibson the de facto starting 5 if this deal went through. But that may be OK. If the Blazers committed to a fast-paced positionless scheme on both ends, they might have enough firepower to outscore lesser teams with Damian Lillard, CJ McCollum, and Morris.”
Both big men could immediately join Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum in the starting lineup, with Morris in the wing or power forward position and Gibson at the center. When Jusuf Nurkic recovers from his injury, Gibson wouldn’t mind accepting a role off the bench and serve as the Trail Blazers’ primary backup center. Sacrificing two future second-round picks in the deal would be worth it for the Trail Blazers, especially if it means acquiring two veteran role players that could help them become more competitive in the deep Western Conference.
Meanwhile, the potential deal would enable the Knicks to turn Morris and Gibson into assets that could help them speed up the rebuilding process. The two future-second round picks would allow the Knicks to add more young and promising talents to their roster.
Since Whiteside’s contract is set to expire after this season, the suggested trade won’t affect the Knicks’ salary cap flexibility in the summer of 2020.