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#pounditSunday, December 4, 2022

Knicks taking 1 bizarre stance in trade negotiations?

Tom Thibodeau looking on

Jan 2, 2019; Boston, MA, USA; Minnesota Timberwolves head coach Tom Thibodeau reacts during the first half against the Boston Celtics at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Knicks appear to be taking a stance that would make you think Whoopi Goldberg was still their head coach.

Marc Berman of the New York Post reported this week that there is a belief around the NBA that Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau would prefer to give up swingman RJ Barrett over guard Quentin Grimes in a potential trade.

Grimes, 22, was selected by the Knicks with the No. 25 overall pick in the 2021 NBA Draft. He looked promising as a rookie, shooting 38.1 percent from deep with plus defense. But the full picture is still incomplete since Grimes saw just 17.1 minutes per game over 46 total appearances.

At face value, the notion that the Knicks would be willing to part with Barrett over Grimes is a major shocker. Barrett, who is actually a month younger than Grimes, is arguably the best player currently on the Knicks roster. Entering his fourth NBA season, Barrett is already a 20-point-per-game scorer who stuffs the stat sheet in virtually every category and also helps anchor the Knicks defensively as a large, disruptive wing. About the only argument there is for Grimes over Barrett is the money factor (as the latter is already eligible for a lucrative extension while the former still has three years left on his rookie deal).

It is worth noting that, unlike his previous stop in Minnesota, Thibodeau does not have a final say over basketball operations. Instead, he collaborates with the Knicks’ other key decision-makers such as president Leon Rose and GM Scott Perry. But there have also been other indications that the team values Grimes extremely highly.

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