Credit: Charles Wenzelberg
Kyle O’Quinn’s time in New York may be running out, depending on where the Knicks are in the playoff race before the February 9th trade deadline.
According to the New York Post’s Marc Berman, O’Quinn is expected to opt-out of his current contract, in the summer, which has him set to earn $4.25 million dollars next season. With the influx of money injected into the NBA, due to its extravagant 9 year, $24 billion TV deal signed with ESPN and TNT, O’Quinn can easily demand more money on the current market.
This season, he’s averaging career-highs in points per game (6.5), assists per game (2.0), rebounds per game (5.8), and field goal percentage (58.5%), and he helped bring “Bully Ball” back to the Garden with his tenacious defense and emphatic blocks into the sixth row.
Easily, O’Quinn can add value to multiple playoff-bound teams who need a productive big man off the bench that provides energy on the defensive end. He’s the one player the Knicks can easily move to get value in return due to a number of reasons:
- His affordable contract makes him a desirable trade target.
- The Knicks are crowded in the front court, and moving O’Quinn will free up playing time for Willy Hernangomez, who is a promising young big man.
- Even though he hasn’t been getting much playing time, the Knicks still have Joakim Noah who should be rested enough to provide good minutes defensively off the bench, if needed.
Essentially, the Knicks aren’t losing a lot by trading O’Quinn. Therefore, getting a draft pick, or a young player, would be a good return for a Knicks team that could possibly fall out of the playoff race, by February, due to their dismal road performances.
Currently, the Knicks are 2-12 on the road, and 14 of their next 20 games are away from home.
Being from Jamaica, Queens, O’Quinn feels at home in New York, and he has become a fan favorite at the Garden. Unfortunately, the NBA is a business, and if the Knicks can’t get their act together on the road, then management has to do what’s best for the future of the franchise.
Which is to build a young, and talented, core to grow together for future success.