By Marvin A Azrak We’re two months into the 2021-2022 NBA season, and naturally, the more games, the more surprises we get. So let’s name a few and jump into what you need to know as we take you inside the “Current Events” in the National Basketball Association.
WE HAVE A DEAL:
The Knicks made headlines in the first blockbuster NBA trade of the season with the acquisition of 22-year-old forward Cam Reddish on Thursday.
The team also acquired a veteran but hampered Solomon Hill along with a 2025 second-round pick from Brooklyn in exchange for 2022 first round
pick which is top 18 protected by the Charlotte Hornets(Currently 20th), as well as draft bust Kevin Knox.
For the Knicks, it’s a statement move by Leon Rose and the front office, who have shown an effort to head in the winning direction by addressing the team’s need for depth off the bench. It’s no secret the Knicks(21-21) have been inconsistent this season due to their lack of depth and rookies in Miles McBride, Quinten Grimes, who Atalanta wanted in the first place, and Jericho Simms could only do so much to fill the voids left by injuries to Kemba Walker and Derrick Rose. When he returns from his ankle injury, Reddish has the potential of a consistent offensive sparkplug off the bench, as NO 10 overall pick in 2019 has averaged 11.1 points with the Hawks in that role over the last 2.5 seasons.
As for Atlanta(17-23), they dumped salary for a possible more significant piece at the trade deadline to turn the season around, and a mid-round pick that, if not conveyed, turns into a top 16 protected pick in 2023, top 14 protected in 2024, and 2025. If Charlotte survives, they will possess free second-round choices in 2026 and 2027.
The Hawks have also reportedly said aside from franchise stars in Trae Young and Clint Capela, “Everyone is available,” so they must not be done here.
Hill, meanwhile, is out for the season with a hamstring injury and a free agent this upcoming summer, meaning the NYK likely acquired his rights to even things out so they can swing roster-waster Kevin Knox to the Hawks. The latter is probably going to be buried on their bench.
Moreover, this deal completes the merry-go-round regarding New York’s 2021 draft-night trade. They moved the 19th pick to the Hornets(AKA Kai Jones) in exchange for that first-round pick which has just netted them a helping of Cam Reddish, who is also in a contract year and will become a free agent after the season if the Knicks don’t extend him which will depend on his play.
WINNER: New York Knicks.
As a Knicks fan, it feels excellent to say that confidently!
Atlanta got fleeced here, as the Knicks acquired not only a need but a pick they can use in future trades as well and got rid of a liability too. I’m a bit surprised Atlanta didn’t end up with more here, but that likely means they were sacrificially willing to fulfill the two-year-long pleas of their conference rivals and ship the young Reddish to the big Apple.
THE THOMSON-INCLUDED WARRIORS:
The Klay Thomson spectacle returned for the first time since the 2019 NBA finals last Sunday, and he put up 17 points, even looking like the old Klay a couple of times in the win over the Cavs.
While no doubt, it will take some time to shake the rust off, the splash brothers have returned, and despite being two games back of the league-leading 31-9 Phoenix Suns, be warned of the 30-11 revamped Warriors with Curry and Thomson at their disposal. If they were good before they got #11, imagine what they’re about to be now.
PLAYOFF BASKETBALL IN OKC?
Yeah, that term hasn’t been heard since the days of Russ and KD. But at 14-27 and considering the “ineptitude” of others teams around them, the Thunder are on the hunt for a play-in spot out West. On Thursday night, SGA(Shai Gilgeous Alexander) went for 33 points, 10 rebounds, and nine assists in the Thunders 130-109 torching of the KD/Kyrie-less Nets at Barclays Center.
LAKERS IN TROUBLE:
Russel Westbrook didn’t do much to cool criticism and the reports of the Lakers wanting to move on from the star when he went 2-of-14 from the field in a nine-point loss to the pitiful Sacramento Kings on Thursday night. In the final three minutes of that one, he launched and missed two momentum-snuffing three-point attempts.
He and LeBron James don’t mix, and it’s hurting the team who are currently
at .500 at 21-21, which is the same record as the regressing New York Knicks to put it into perspective.
CAVS ARE A PLAYOFF TEAM:
Yeah, this continues to surprise everyone around the NBA community, as Cleveland is currently 24-18, good for sixth in the East, and three games clear of the 11th seeded Knicks. They seem “Too big” to fail with seven-footers like Jarret Allen and Evan Mobley pulverizing teams down low, while Darius Garland has been deadly from the outside. The Cavs are now a team on my “Watch list” as the NBA season continues.