One of the teams who truly needed to spice things up before the transfer market came to an end were the Knicks, who despite having a great season so far, have been facing a worsening-injury crisis. This is why the New York club decided to add two offensive-minded veterans with hopes of bolstering their attacking depth in their journey to title contention.
Team president Leon Rose confirmed the acquirement of Bojan Bogdanovic and Alec Burks from the Detroit Pistons this Thursday ahead of the deadline, while swapping out Quentin Grimes, Evan Fournier, Malachi Flynn, Ryan Arcidiacono and two second-round picks.
The Manhattan franchise recently received the news that OG Anunoby will undergo surgery on his elbow, but they expect him to be 100% for the postseason. Co-stars Jalen Brunson and Julius Randle are also dealing with health issues, but are both expected to return in the coming weeks.
Stephen A Smith says he’s not impressed with the Bogdanovic and Burks trade and suggests the Knicks should have gone for DeRozan.
What an embarrassment to the city of New York 🤢 pic.twitter.com/pp544nL7LU
— Cynical (@CynicalNYK) February 9, 2024
Coach Tom Thibodeau hopes to upgrade shooting with the new trades, as Burks is averaging 12.6 points this campaign on 39.4% efficiency, and Bogdanovic is averaging 20.2 points on 47%. “Those guys have added a lot to our team,” he said before Thursday’s game. “Then if you look at how all it fits together, we added a lot of shooting, which is much needed.”
The Croatian is at a point in his career in which he can’t defend as well as before, but still remains a strong scorer. The idea is that he can help fill in for Randle and Anunoby.
“[Bogdanovic’s] ability to play power forward, it gives us a stretch-4 who can really shoot,” Thibodeau shared. “Alec, his ability to handle the ball, play the point, play off the ball, play with the starters, play with the bench, sort of a Swiss Army knife. He does a little bit of everything.”
The Knicks coach insisted on the importance of not losing offensive power. “But the shooting piece was so important. I just think the more we can open up the floor, particularly as you go forward, that’s a key ingredient. Now, teams have to make a decision how much you’re going to load up [on Brunson],” he added.
Mitchell Robinson nears return, as his coach believes he might be back after the All-Star break
The New York tactician reminded the press that Mitchell Robinson was closing in on his recovery and believes he’ll be back on the NBA courts this month. “He’s doing better and better and so [he’s] progressing,” Thibodeau told the press. “And I think probably right after the All-Star break, he’ll start to do activities on the court.”
The player has been out since December 8 after suffering a let ankle sprain against the Boston Celtics, and required surgery. “So we’re very pleased with how he’s coming along,” his coach added. “So, yeah, it’s positive [news].”
For now, Thibodeau remains positive that the return of Burks and Bogdanovic will help hold the fort while the rest of there roster recovers from their injuries.
“We’re looking forward to Alec and Bojan coming in. Alec, we’re familiar with because he’s been here,” said the Knicks coach. “We know what a great fit he is for us. Bojan, we’ve gone against him for quite a bit. It gives us added depth. The shooting piece is really important for us. They complement our players extremely well. We’re looking forward to them joining our team.”