NY Knicks' Trade Deadline Strategy Blueprint

Ciaran GowanContributor IIIFebruary 10, 2013

PHOENIX, AZ - NOVEMBER 12:  Jared Dudley #3 of the Phoenix Suns in action during the NBA game against the Denver Nuggets at US Airways Center on November 12, 2012 in Phoenix, Arizona.  The Suns defeated the Nuggets 110-100.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
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The trade deadline is often one of the most important times for teams around the NBA, and for the New York Knicks, it provides an opportunity to strengthen the roster for a potential title run.

But it's easy enough to say that the Knicks may want to improve before the deadline—the real question is how they can realistically do so without disrupting chemistry.

So far, there hasn't been too much out there as far as rumors, but the one major development is that the Phoenix Suns are again looking for a way to acquire Iman Shumpert.

Back in the summer, they tried to pry him from the Knicks in a Steve Nash sign-and-trade and, according to ESPN, are this time offering a package centered around Jared Dudley for the young swingman.

As Ian Begley's report states, however, a deal is "unlikely at this point," and rightly so. Trading away a player as important as Shumpert midseason would not be a smart move.

Alex Kennedy of HoopsWorld has reported that the Knicks have an interest in Dudley, but the likelihood of them coveting him so much they'd let go of Shumpert is slim.

Besides the Shumpert rumors, the Knicks have been pretty quiet on the whole, and there's a good chance that will continue past the deadline. The roster is already one of the deepest and most talented in the league, and there's a solid case to be made for going with what they've already got.

That said, there are some players out there who could make a serious difference off the bench, and the Knicks could package some of their lesser-used players to bring one or two of them in.

The main weakness New York has right now is rebounding, with Tyson Chandler essentially having to do all the work alone. Having Marcus Camby and Rasheed Wallace out injured for an extended period certainly hasn't helped.

Luckily for the Knicks, though, trading away Ronnie Brewer, Kurt Thomas and James White together could bring back a player capable of helping out and filling the need of a backup center whilst the banged-up vets recover.

Those three players have a combined salary of just over $3 million, which is just enough to bring in a quality bench player. The attraction for the team on the other side of the deal would be the chance to add a great wing defender in Brewer and possibly a draft pick from the Knicks depending on the quality of the player coming to New York.

The best move the Knicks could make within reason is to bring in Timofey Mozgov. According to The Denver Post, the center is on the trading block, having fallen out of George Karl's rotation.

Though the Knicks traded him away as part of the Carmelo Anthony move back in 2011, the Russian international could still have a lot to offer the team. His huge frame makes him a fantastic rebounder and a good defender, and on top of that, he can handle himself offensively.

Other trade options include Lavoy Allen, Marreese Speights and Jason Smith, all of whom are on similar salaries and bring similar skills to the table.

Alternatively, looking to free agency to fill the need could be fruitful. Two players that the Knicks were interested in in the summer—Lou Amundson and Kenyon Martin—are still available and, at this point, could be had on the veteran's minimum. All it would take is for the Knicks to cut a player to create roster space.

One last thing the Knicks should think about—although it's not a need per se—is upgrading the backup point guard position. Pablo Prigioni is great for a player on the rookie's minimum, but his reluctance to shoot and deliberate style of play are frustrating to say the least.

New York should seriously consider letting him go along with one or two more minimum-salary players and a future pick, but only if the Knicks can find the right deal. That means bringing back a player like Sebastian Telfair from the Suns or Will Bynum from the Detroit Pistons in return. 

When February 21st rolls around, we can't expect the Knicks to have done anything substantial to the roster, and that's absolutely fine. But with the injury situation as it is, it would definitely be smart for New York to flirt with letting go of some lesser pieces for a new backup center or point guard.