We have our first trade of the deadline, and the patient New York Knicks — a weird thing to say, but they have been under Leon Rose — made a move.
Atlanta Hawks wing Cam Reddish is headed to New York to reunite with former Duke teammate R.J. Barrett in a trade that is more about a future pick for Atlanta. Here is how the Reddish trade breaks down:
Traditionally this is a winners and losers trade breakdown, but there are no serious losers in this deal. One could argue Kevin Knox is, but he had fallen out of favor with Tom Thibodeau and he will at least get a clean slate and a chance with Nate McMillan. If Knox can prove to be a highly efficient shooter — and he was nowhere near that in New York, making just 35.7% of his shots this season — he can help his stock.
Solomon Hill is not a loser in this; he was already sidelined for the season with a hamstring injury. Maybe the biggest loser will be the Pelicans, who will now feel the “Zion’s coming to New York” train picking up steam with two of his former Duke teammates on the Knicks.
So who were the winners?
WINNER: New York Knicks
The Knicks got the best player in this trade in Reddish. That’s usually the sign of winning a trade.
New York lands a 6’8″ wing who can defend multiple positions, is shooting 38% from 3 this season, and can put the ball on the floor and create his own shot. He’s also just 22, he’s young and improving, with a fairly high ceiling.
There are minutes to be had at the wing in New York (although things get crowded once everyone is healthy). Tom Thibodeau starts RJ Barrett and Evan Fournier there, with rookie Quentin Grimes behind them (Ian Begley reports the Hawks wanted Grimes in the deal, but New York wouldn’t give him up, another reason this is a win for the Knicks). None of the players on the Knicks roster has stepped up and looked irreplaceable on the wing (although Barrett has been on fire the past couple of weeks), now they bring in a potentially better defender and someone who could be a fit. (Just ignore the rumors about how Barrett and Reddish didn’t get along all that well at Duke.)
Reddish is extension eligible after this season, and the going rate for starting-level 3&D wings is around $18 million a season. New York can try to reach a deal to keep Reddish this summer or let him go to restricted free agency in the summer of 2023 and match any offer then.
WINNER: Cam Reddish
Not standing out on a Hawks team deep on the wing, Reddish needed a fresh start and opportunity, now he got one on a big stage (and Reddish has always seemed to play a little better on a big stage, think back to last year’s playoffs).
Reddish has shown real flashes in the ATL, but he needs to be more consistent, better and more focused on defense, and more efficient on offense, to take the next step in his career (and get paid like he wants). He’s averaging 11.9 points a game this season, but with a 53.7 true shooting percentage, a little below league average. Many of his stats are similar — good, solid, but closer to average than standout — and a few stats suggest he hasn’t played as well as it looks (-3.4 estimated +/-).
New York is a fresh start and Reddish will get the minutes he has been craving. What he does with them is up to him.
WINNER: Atlanta Hawks
With all those players — and the knowledge that a much larger payday was coming for Reddish in a couple of years, money Atlanta was not sure it wanted to pay — the team could afford to trade Reddish and not take a hit. This trade is a bet on Hunter, who the Hawks have liked better as their defender on the wing, but he now has to stay healthy (he’s missed time this year with a wrist injury and played 35 games total over the past two seasons).
Atlanta’s biggest prize in this deal is Charlotte’s first-round pick, but it is top 18 protected in 2022, top 16 protected in 2023 and lottery protected in 2024 and 2025. As things stand today, that pick could convey in this upcoming draft (Atlanta would pick 20th). The chances LaMelo Ball and the Hornets would miss the playoffs the next few years in a row is unlikely, meaning the Hawks will get their first-round pick at some point.
Atlanta gets to take a free look at Knox before he hits the market. Also, by trading Hill, the Hawks open up a roster spot, giving them options heading into the trade deadline and buyout season.