Win-now Knicks monitoring Bradley Beal, Victor Oladipo
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The Knicks did not make Kevin Knox or Frank Ntilikina or any of their first-round picks available in Super Bowl Sunday’s Derrick Rose trade, The Post has learned.
Even though Knox and Ntilikina are out of the rotation, the Knicks are saving as many young assets as possible so they can have enough for a future significant deal.
The Knicks – as well as several other teams – are monitoring the situations of shooting guards Bradley Beal and Victor Oladipo. The Knicks (11-15) get an up-close look at both players in a Friday/Saturday back-to-back.
The Knicks face Beal’s Wizards (6-15) Friday in D.C., then host Oladipo and the Rockets (11-13) on Saturday.
The Wizards superstar always seems a step away from being put on the trading block, and league executives think it’s more a matter of when, not if.
“Eventually I think the Wizards will (trade him),” one NBA executive said. “They want to treat Beal right. I think Beal will get frustrated enough to ask for a trade and they will accommodate him.”
One league executive also wonders if the Wizards would trade Beal to an Eastern Conference team.
The already available player – and much less costly one – is Oladipo, the new Rockets star whom Houston obtained in the James Harden blockbuster. Sources contend they are amenable to trading Oladipo, since he’ll be an unrestricted free agent this summer.
If the Knicks seized Oladipo, it will show Knicks GM Scott Perry still has lots of power in the organization. Perry drafted the University of Indiana product in Orlando with the No. 2 pick in the 2013 draft.
“The Knicks were definitely sniffing around Victor when he was with the Pacers,” one NBA source said.
Knicks president Leon Rose is said to be not as high on Oladipo’s future, but Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau still is looking for roster upgrades because of their scoring woes, league sources affirm.
The 6-4 shooting guard is averaging 19.8 points, 5.5 rebounds and 4.7 assists. He’s still only 28 and trending in the direction of being over his quad-tendon knee surgery.
As it stands, Beal wants to remain in Washington and the Wizards have no desire to move him. Beal, 27, doesn’t become a free agent until 2023. The drawback for Leon Rose’s Knicks is he’s repped by Mark Bartelstein – not Creative Artists Agency.
If Beal is put on the block entering the March 25 trading deadline, the Knicks would be among the bidders.
Beal entered the Wizards’ Wednesday game against the Raptors averaging a league-high 33.3 points per game and shooting 47 percent. Beal is also averaging 5.1 rebounds and 4.5 assists.
RJ Barrett, the No. 3 pick in the 2019 draft, is part of the Knicks’ future, but still hasn’t shown enough to cement himself as a definitive future All-Star.
As much as Thibodeau likes his two-way game, scouts around the league still are concerned about whether Barrett’s athleticism is considered elite – not just his 3-point shooting.
The Knicks prefer not to put Barrett in any Beal deal, however, and feel they have stocked up enough futures.
Aside from lottery picks Knox and Ntilikina, they potentially have two lottery picks in this year’s draft, plus Detroit’s precious second-round pick. That potentially could be the 31st pick overall in a draft that is considered strong.
In addition, the Knicks have two first-round picks in 2023 and multiple 2023 second-round picks.
When the Knicks were doing all their dealing before and after the draft in November, it was with the mindset of collecting extra draft compensation to use in a blockbuster for a player such as Beal.
If Washington waits to trade Beal this summer, the Knicks will have even more cap space to inherit his contract. Even now, the Knicks have $15 million of room following the Rose-for-Dennis Smith Jr. swap. That makes a Beal/Oladipo trade easier to consummate because of cap mathematics.
Now that veteran point guard Rose is aboard and already has shown life in those 32-year-old legs, Thibodeau is going to want more.
The Knicks have made their win-now mentality clear. Patience went out the window when former Knicks president Steve Mills was ousted one year ago. Leon Rose was hired ostensibly to hire a win-now coach, Thibodeau.
Thibodeau and senior VP William Wesley, who steered Rose to John Calipari’s Memphis Tigers, engineered the Rose deal. Thibodeau downplayed it, saying he was presented with a handful of names – probably Lonzo Ball and J.J Redick among them.
With Derrick Rose getting his wish to leave Detroit, Ball no longer makes sense. The 36-year-old Redick seems like a lateral move with the more versatile and younger Alec Burks in place.
Sources confirm Redick would prefer a trade to either the Nets or Knicks, as his family still lives in the DUMBO section of Brooklyn.
“I think Leon and Wes and Scott, they’re in constant communication with all the teams in the league,” Thibodeau said. “That’s all part of this business. You talk about a number of possibilities, you look at it, the pros and cons, what it could add, but there’s a number of players that were discussed.”
If Rose continues to excel like he did in Tuesday’s debut, the Knicks may consider moving Elfrid Payton and/or Austin Rivers to alleviate a logjam. Payton has increased his trade value and has drawn some interest, sources say. Rivers is out of the rotation until there’s an injury to Thibodeau’s new top 10.
“Austin’s been around, he’s a veteran,” Thibodeau said. “He’ll stay ready. He’s situational. Usually things work out. When he’s called upon, I know he’ll be ready to go.”
Rivers was also a teammate in 2018-19 of Beal, who will again have a chance to feast on the Knicks Friday.
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