After rumors that the Philadelphia 76ers were interested in a trade for Knicks’ forward Noah Vonleh were squashed by Jon Johnson on Twitter, questions start to rise about what New York should do with their 6’9 forward.
Per team source, report Sixers are interested in Noah Vonleh “is false.”
— Jon Johnson (@jonjohnsonwip) January 17, 2019
The 76ers are a team atop the Eastern Conference standings that want to add depth for a playoff run, especially without LeBron James looming in their way. However, Giannis Antetokounmpo will poise a large obstacle for any team trying to crown themselves “Easter Conference Champions” in June.
“The Greek Freak” was not an impossible obstacle for Noah Vonleh in the games against Milwaukee this season.
Even though Giannis scored a lot against the Knicks this season, on several occasions Vonleh seemed unphased as Antetokounmpo backed him down in the paint.
Vonleh’s defense is one of the qualities other teams can trade for alongside admirable hustle and a renaissance of offensive abilities including a three point shot. Vonleh is shooting 41% from beyond the arc in his first season with the Knicks.
Vonleh has also nearly doubled his points per game jumping from 4.9 with Portland and Chicago last year to 8.4 through 43 games.
If the 76ers really are not interested in Vonleh, another trade partner could be the Houston Rockets.
The Rockets, who dropped an overtime shootout to the Brooklyn Nets on Jan. 16 145-143, are going to be without their center Clint Capela anywhere from 4-6 weeks according to Maurice Bobb at BleacherReport.com.
This could mean the Rockets would want to acquire Vonleh even though he is not listed as a center. Vonleh has played time at the 5 when the Knicks go small. While vertically inclined while playing the center, Vonleh’s strength is very advantageous for playing “big.”
As for the return for the Knicks, the Rockets could send over a first or second round pick. Because Vonleh would be a half season rental and Capela is going to return before the playoffs, a second round pick sounds more likely. Also, the Knicks already have the Rockets’ second round pick after a 2015 trade involving Pablo Prigionia and Alexey Shved.
Wow. Remember him?
Okay, that was mean for me to include…
Regardless, this means the Rockets would have to shed another future draft pick. That is something they might not be willing to do as it seems their window could be closing soon and they will have to replenish their roster around James Harden.
Also, while a Carmelo Anthony return to New York would be funny and a little nostalgic, it would also be a questionable decision to trade an asset like Vonleh for a blast from the past and acquire Anthony’s salary.
Finally, if the Knicks do end up trading Vonleh, they can still resign him in the summer, and it would be valuable to do so. As the Knicks have their sights on big free agents like Kevin Durant, resigning Vonleh would make sense as he fits head coach David Fizdale’s mold defensively and hustle-wise.
As for the other free agents on this Knicks team, Enes Kanter could get some trade interests, but his return would be less fruitful than the return for Vonleh.
There does not seem to be a market for Mario Hezonja and understandably so as he has failed to reignite his career like Vonleh has.
Kristaps Porzingis is a restricted free agent and you can see what I expect to happen with him by reading my article from Jan. 10 about the Unicorn by clicking here.
Featured Image: New York Post