The New York Knicks and Sacramento Kings engaged in a four-player trade on Wednesday. New York will receive forwards Travis Outlaw and Quincy Acy from the Kings, while Sacramento will get shooting guard Wayne Ellington and big man Jeremy Tyler in return.
It’s a small, no-name trade in a league that often has massive blockbuster deals, but it’s still an interesting one. Tyler is inexplicably being traded away from the Knicks, who lack great toughness or stability inside after letting center Tyson Chandler walk back to Dallas in free agency. While Tyler was far from a seasoned player, he showed maturation and progress over the past two years. More importantly, he gave the Knicks solid strength and depth down low.
While Tyler was a young big man arguably worth grooming, it could have been a move in the Knicks’ best interest for the short-term. After all, New York did sign centers Samuel Dalembert and Jason Smith in free agency this year, and could have viewed Cole Aldrich as the better long-term prospect to develop over Tyler.
The team had also already been interested in cutting ties with sharpshooter Wayne Ellington by any means necessary, so finding a trade that got him out of New York was probably a win-win. The Knicks were already jammed up on the wings with J.R. Smith, Tim Hardaway Jr., Iman Shumpert and rookie Cleanthony Early residing on the roster.
Oddly enough, New York inherited two more wing players in the process, as Outlaw and Acy are both best suited at small forward. Their presence gives the Knicks five true small forwards, although it’s debatable as to how the actual starting lineup and rotation will look when it comes to the depth chart when the 2014-15 NBA season finally comes around.
It’s also worth pointing out that Phil Jackson and co. are far from done making moves, as well. The Knicks have been rumored to be interested in unloading J.R. Smith, Iman Shumpert and others earlier this summer. Perhaps bringing on some wing depth is a precursor to doing just that.
On Sacramento’s side of things, they get a quality shooter and some wing depth in Ellington, as well as a solid big man to place behind starting center DeMarcus Cousins. Tyler still faces an uphill battle with the Kings, as a crowded frontcourt including Jason Thompson, Reggie Evans, Carl Landry and Derrick Williams could make playing time hard to come by. With that being said, Tyler is probably now the only true center on the roster behind Cousins, giving him a shot at earning limited minutes as the team’s top backup center.