3 Moves NY Knicks Could Have Made at the NBA Trade Deadline

John Dorn@johnsdornCorrespondent IIIFebruary 25, 2013

A deal for Wilson Chandler is one that could've healed several Knicks wounds.
A deal for Wilson Chandler is one that could've healed several Knicks wounds.Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

This year's trade deadline has come and gone, and the New York Knicks were one of the few active teams last Thursday. They tacked on veteran forward Kenyon Martin, and shipped cast-off swingman Ronnie Brewer to the Oklahoma City Thunder

Even still, the team left much to be desired as the clock struck 3 p.m. ET on deadline day. 

New York is in the midst of its worst stretch since the Mike D'Antoni era. They're struggling in a few key areas, and definitely could've used insurance at the point guard position. Instead of addressing these needs, general manager Glen Grunwald bulked up the middle by adding Martin, which would prove to be a valuable signing.

But that's not to say there were better moves to be made.

Here are some potential deals that New York wouldn't have regretted pulling the trigger on.

Ronnie Brewer and Chris Copeland to the Phoenix Suns for Sebastian Telfair

The Knicks' three-headed monster at the point guard spot has been effective often this season, but is one bounce of the ball away from being shot dead. 

Starter Raymond Felton is playing with an injured pinkie finger, and according to the guard himself, is a single setback away from a lost season.

Next on the point guard totem pole would be Jason Kidd, who has had his fair share of battles with injuries in 2012-13. At age 39, it doesn't come as much of a surprise, but Kidd has fought through back troubles for much of the year. 

After a scorching start—he was a 47-percent three-point shooter through his first 20 games—Kidd has crashed back down to the land of your run-of-the-mill 39-year-old point guard. 

Since New Year's Day, he's shot a mediocre 27-percent from the arc, and 32 percent from the field while averaging only three assists per contest. The stark dropoff can be attributed to Mike Woodson's heavy reliance on Kidd, which would've been easily alleviated with another—younger—point guard.

Sebastian Telfair would've fit the bill.

Telfair was sent from the Phoenix Suns to the Toronto Raptors in exchange for seldom-used big man Hamed Haddadi and a second-round pick. A package of Brewer, a solid wing defender, and Copeland, a promising young scorer, could've easily enticed Phoenix execs.

Without insurance at the 1, New York will have to rely on Jason Kidd to return to early-season form, and hope that Felton avoids direct contact to that injured pinkie. If either guard's season is thrown off track, it could mean the end of New York's championship hopes.

Steve Novak and James White to the Milwaukee Bucks for Mike Dunleavy

Mike Dunleavy doesn't exactly address the Knicks' weakness at wing defense, but he's much more versatile than Novak will ever be.

In his second year with the Knicks, teams have learned to harass Novak when he's on the court. Last season, upon becoming a full-time rotation player, Novak was launching 6.1 three-balls per contest, according to Basketball-Reference. Since Dec. 11, that figure is down to just 3.7.

He still is knocking them down at an outstanding rate—his .447 clip from downtown is good for fourth league-wide. Novak's issue nowadays is quantity, not quality.

In Dunleavy, the Knicks would be returning a player who can knock down treys—he's at a .432 mark from long-range—but can score the ball in more ways than Novak, while also contributing a hint of defense on the wing.

The move would be a homecoming for Novak, a Wisconsin-native. The Bucks would be welcoming in arguably the NBA's best sharp-shooter, along with an athletic swingman in James White. 

Novak often struggles to find minutes when his shot is off, but that likely wouldn't be the case for Dunleavy, who's capable of finding and creating his own shot.

Steve Novak, Ronnie Brewer, Chris Copeland and a Future 2nd Round Pick to the Denver Nuggets for Wilson Chandler

With the impending lineup change Mike Woodson may be forced to make by switching Iman Shumpert at shooting guard and Jason Kidd to the bench, the Knicks would have a void at the small forward position. Ideally they'd be in the market for an athletic swingman with a three-point shot that can hold his own in the defensive side of the ball.

That sounds an awful lot like somebody they used to have on their roster.

Bringing Wilson Chandler back to the Garden from the Denver Nuggets would help cure several weaknesses. Chandler would essentially assume Steve Novak's spot in the rotation, since Ronnie Brewer and Chris Copeland weren't part of the Knicks immediate plans. With the young Nuggets, Copeland would have had the opportunity to hone his offensive game, and Brewer can contribute sturdy defense guarding 2s and 3s.

Chandler has battled various injuries since being traded to Denver. He's appeared in 20 games this season, and has drilled a respectable 35 percent of his three-point attempts. On defense, he has the athletic ability to stay in front of other player his size. 

As an isolation defender, opponents are shooting just 3-of-12 against the 25-year-old Chandler this season. He's also allowed just 25-percent shooting when assigned the pick-and-roll ball handler, according to Synergy Sports.

The former first-round pick of the Knicks is also a good shot-blocker for his size. He averages nearly a block per game for his career. 

Mike Woodson would be able to court a starting lineup of Raymond Felton, Iman Shumpert, Chandler, Carmelo Anthony and Tyson Chandler. J.R. Smith, Jason Kidd and Amar'e Stoudemire would make up the team's core reserves.

Option B: Including Iman Shumpert in the Deal

The Knicks could've also considered sending Iman Shumpert to Denver in the deal to entice the Nuggets a bit more.

Switching him into the trade package in place of Brewer would've been interesting for both sides. The Knicks would be losing their youngest player and best defender, but would still keep a wing defender in Brewer.

The Nuggets would certainly be intrigued at the prospect of adding another young piece, especially one with the defensive potential of the 22-year-old Shumpert.

Woodson's starting lineup would then likely still include the Felton-Kidd backcourt combo, but would alleviate the issue of playing Shumpert out of position at the 3. Chandler is better suited for the small forward spot, and outputs his best production at that position, according to 82games.

Unfortunately for the Knicks, we'll never know how these deals could've panned out.

The team basically decided to stick with what they had, and they'll be hoping for the combination of health and execution as the postseason draws closer.

At least now we can finally bring the deadline discussion to an end, and move the focus to the last two months of the season.

Follow me on Twitter at JSDorn6.

All stats used are from Basketball-Reference unless otherwise attributed.


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