Cam Reddish is a Knick
The Knicks just gave us something to get excited about. It’s not a trade for a star, but it’s for a young player with star potential. While Reddish is not going to come in and make the Knicks a contender, he does improve their chances of getting better.
There wasn’t a bigger Kevin Knox believer out there than me, I was convinced he was going to be a good player, I even wrote about it. He still might turn into a good player if he finds the right situation. But the truth is that it wasn’t going to be here. Knox’s best position is the ‘Stretch 4′, but he couldn’t get any minutes there because of Julius Randle and Obi Toppin. That’s why he wasn’t a good fit on this roster, but Cam Reddish is.
The Knicks have a deficiency at the Wing position. For as good as Barrett, Fournier, Burks, and Grimes have been, none are explosive playmakers that can collapse a defense. They are all reliant on someone else to be the primary initiator.
While Cam is not ready to come in and be that, he is the only Wing on the Knicks’ roster with that potential. Reddish is not a finished product, and just like Knox, needs to improve his defense. But he is a better player and fit for the Knicks.
Why the Hawks traded Reddish
If Reddish is a better player and has one more year on his rookie contract, then why did the Hawks trade him for Kevin Knox? There are two reasons, the first is that the Hawks are in win-now mode, and the second reason is money.
For as disappointing as the Knicks have been, the Hawks have been worse. Atlanta was supposed to build upon last season’s Conference Finals appearance. They were expected to be a top 3 seed in the East since the 76ers were missing Ben Simmons and the Nets were without Kyrie Irving. Instead, they have a losing record and are in 12th place in the East. So they need to do something quickly. The Reddish trade sets the stage for another trade, one in which they acquire a veteran player.
They always say the best way to find out what is going on in the NBA is to follow the money. The Hawks are projected to have the 2nd highest payroll after the Golden State Warriors, so they will be paying the luxury tax if they don’t dump contracts. Below are Atlanta’s largest contracts.
- Trae Young – $29.75M
- John Collins – $23.5M
- Danilo Gallinari – $21.45M
- Clint Capela – $19.7M
- Bogdan Bogdanovic – $18M
- Kevin Huerter – $14.5M
- De’Andre Hunter – $9.8M + rookie extension
As you can see above, the Hawks have no money left to spend, especially since they plan on extending De’Andre Hunter, who they took 4th overall in the same draft as Cam Reddish (10th). So getting Kevin Knox, an expiring contract, and a 1st round pick addresses their needs.
Why New York looks smart
Expectations for Reddish need to be tempered because the Knicks are taking a flyer on a young unproven player. But what this trade shows is that the Knicks have finally learned how to play the long game. When you look back at all the good Knicks teams since the 1980s, they all fell short because they were missing a piece or two. They were impatient and made shortsighted moves that didn’t maximize the value of their assets. But things are different with this front office.
The Knicks turned the 19th pick in the 2021 draft into Cam Reddish, a player drafted 10th overall in 2019, and Brooklyn’s 2nd round pick in 2025. Kevin Durant and James Harden will be past their primes in 3 1/2 seasons. It was reported that Atlanta wanted rookie Quentin Grimes, instead of Kevin Knox, who was the 25th pick, but the Knicks said no. That shows you that the Knicks hit on their late 1st round pick again.
Just as Atlanta isn’t done dealing, neither are the Knicks. Part of playing the long game is to patiently acquire the assets necessary to make a run at a great player. In the last two drafts, the Knicks have selected 5 players that are on the roster and have contributed: Obi Toppin, Immanuel Quickley, Quentin Grimes, Deuce McBride, and Jericho Sims. They also drafted one of the best young prospects playing in Europe, Rokas Jokubaitas. Now add Cam Reddish to that treasure chest of talent to go along with all the draft picks the Knicks have stockpiled. In case you haven’t figured it out yet, our front office has quietly positioned itself to build a contender.