Trade Deadline Marathon: Day 2.25
DAL receives: G Frank Ntilikina, PF Noah Vonleh, Future lottery-protected first round pick
NYK receives: PG Dennis Smith Jr, future second round pick
The immediate emergence of Luka Doncic in Dallas has caused rumors to arise regarding Dennis Smith Jr’s trade availability. If that happens to be the case, the Knicks should hop into the sweepstakes. Regardless of the play thus far from Emmanuel Mudiay and Trey Burke, DSJ would be an upgrade and an ideal candidate for a franchise cornerstone. In his second season in the league, the 21-year-old point guard is averaging 12.6 PPG and 4.0 RPG. His production took a hit when Doncic began to show out early on, causing the split in lead-guard responsibilities. However, DSJ possesses unique qualities that suggest potential stardom down the road: uber athleticism, offensive upside, tremendous feel for the game.
For starters, Frank Ntilikina’s defensive presence would complement Doncic’s offensive tendencies very well. There are concerns over Ntilikina being able to score regularly, as he has only averaged six points per game on under 36% shooting during his short career. However, his 6-foot-6 frame and athleticism give hope and could foreshadow substantial offensive improvement. Besides, he’s only 20 years old.
Because of the offensive uncertainties, the Knicks also send forward Noah Vonleh to Dallas. A former top-10 pick, Vonleh has shown flashes of potential this season; he is currently contributing 8.5 and 8.7 points and rebounds per game, respectively. The 23-year-old would give the Mavs much needed youth and depth as they progress for the future and fight for a playoff spot.
However, Vonleh is set to become an unrestricted free agent in July, meaning that the Knicks also have to send a lottery-protected first round pick to push Dallas to accept the deal. In turn, they receive a second-rounder with DSJ.