In order to get value, an NBA team normally has to give it back. Unfortunately for the Knicks, as Thursday's trade deadline approaches, the likes of Jose Calderon, Kyle O'Quinn and Kevin Seraphin would appear to be the team's most movable assets. How desirable such pieces are to opposing teams remains to be seen.
For better or worse, these are the pieces the Knicks have. While that might not be ideal, the Pistons appear very inclined to deal Brandon Jennings, and New York has been monitoring him for months. Though Jennings is still coming into his own again following an Achilles injury, he does boast career averages of 16 points, six assists and a 35 percent clip from deep. Playing just 18 minutes per contest this season, Jennings is doing so mostly between Detroit's budding point guard star Reggie Jackson.
All of this makes him expendable to a large extent, and the Knicks stand to benefit. The Pistons may value the pieces New York has to offer as potential key contributors for a steady playoff run ahead. Calderon would provide veteran leadership, and the frontline pieces could perhaps add value more so than Jennings at this point. Two of the three aforementioned pieces, perhaps with a future second-round pick to sweeten things, might just do the trick.
The Pistons have made Jennings available, especially to the Knicks, but it appears Phil Jackson is weighing all of the Knicks' options, biding his time in order to get the most value back for what the Knicks do have. That said, it isn't much.
But Jennings has the potential to solve many of the Knicks' woes at point guard. He can push the pace, penetrate and has shown an increased motivation to be more unselfish in order to contribute to the rising success of his younger teammates this season.
Coming off the bench and looking to simply add value to a already positive situation, this is how he's been able to stand out the most. In New York, he'd have a truly more centralized role running the offense. But while he could undoubtedly elevate the squad, there would be less pressure on him than usual given that the Knicks have lasted this long with Calderon in town. Just about anything Jennings brings would be considered an upgrade.
This trade deadline is much different than ones in the past because the Knicks are looking to make immediate improvements. As unlikely as it might seem, the playoffs are a goal not only because the team doesn't have their own pick this summer, but also because the Knicks appear headed in a positive direction, which would be more appealing for prospective free agents. In targeting Jennings, New York would be in a unique buying position -- rather than selling -- around the deadline, and his expiring contract would allow them to maintain flexibility heading into the offseason.
If he's all New York gets, Jennings' acquisition should still be considered a victory for the surprisingly active Knicks.