Phil Jackson has made another trade in hopes to bolster the New York Knicks frontcourt depth. The official four-player deal included the Knicks trading shooting guard Wayne Ellington and scoring big man Jeremy Tyler. The Knicks acquired two energy players from the Sacramento Kings in the deal in Quincy Acy and Travis Outlaw, both who will battle for minutes with rookie Cleanthony Early. This can hardly be considered a splash (it’s actually more like tiptoeing in a puddle), but what does it mean moving forward? Are the Knicks done wheeling and dealing?
For starters, let’s examine what the Knicks gave up in this deal. Wayne Ellington was an offensive player at a shooting guard position which the Knicks are seemingly already loaded at with J.R. Smith, Iman Shumpert and Tim Hardaway Jr. Realistically, unless the Knicks are forced to play a small-ball lineup next season, Ellington was going to rot away on the end of the bench. He was more of a salary throw in than an actual important piece to the deal the Knicks made with the Dallas Mavericks.
The Knicks also gave the Kings a score-first big man in Jeremy Tyler. In the past I vouched for the Knicks to add Tyler to the roster because of his performance in the 2013 NBA Las Vegas Summer League, but after a season which involved more headaches than progress for Tyler, I can see why the deal was struck. Tyler could develop into a solid role player if he has the right coaching, but his lack of discipline on defense often led to quick and silly foul trouble and his shot selection can be rivaled only by J.R. Smith at times. Tyler has a ton of potential, but for the Knicks, who just signed PF/C Jason Smith and re-signed center Cole Aldrich, there will be more than enough bodies down low next season.
What did the Knicks get in return? Well, Travis Outlaw was brought in to the fold to bring veteran depth behind Carmelo Anthony at the small forward position. The Knicks also drafted Cleanthony Early to backup Anthony this season, but having a veteran presence in case Early struggles in his rookie season is a smart move. Outlaw won’t light up the score board, but he did average 5.4 points and 2.7 rebounds while playing just about 17 minutes a night in Sacramento.
The Knicks also acquired versatile forward Quincy Acy in the trade. He is another guy that won’t light up the score board or isn’t going to “wow” anybody with his game, but he is a high-energy, all-out effort type of player. He runs the floor well, blocks shots and won’t hesitate to dunk over an opposing defender. Knicks fans will appreciate Acy’s game because he will be the guy doing all the dirty work that a lot of players won’t do, so I expect him to be a fan favorite quickly if he is given playing time.
Just like the case with the Dallas Mavericks deal earlier in the off-season, I don’t believe Phil Jackson and company are done yet either. Our own Chris Celletti pointed out that ESPN’s Marc Stein reported the Knicks are possibly considering trading another MSG favorite Pablo Prigioni. This of course come amid reports that the Knicks are also still deliberating bringing back combo guard Toure Murry as well. Something tells me another deal is in the works, maybe on a larger scale, maybe just a triangle offense fitting move, but Jackson may have something up his sleeve. Stay tuned, Knicks fans.