Why this works for both teams
For the Knicks, this is a no-brainer. They’re losing out on a possible seven free agents this year. Granted not all of them are great players but bodies can be useful in a pinch. Frank Ntilikina won’t be retained and is an out-and-out bust for the Knicks. He and fellow guard Theo Pinson are eating up dollars which doesn’t make any sense. Yup, a pun.
Taj Gibson isn’t bad for a grinder but at 35, his best days are behind him. Reggie Bullock will likely be brought back but he may be asking for a big number and may not be worth it, while Nerlens Noel is a good defensive player in limited minutes; same with Alec Burks. The problem with the guys they’re losing isn’t that they don’t fit with the team’s scheme, save for Ntilikina and Pinson, because they do. No, the problem is they don’t provide much offensive output. That was what sank the Knicks. They averaged just 95 points in the playoffs, which is worst among all playoff teams.
The four players the Knicks are trading over averaged just 37 points per game. The Cavs are sending over three players who averaged 46.6 per game. Barrett wasn’t very good on defense, nor was Quickley.
They need help scoring the ball. Tauren Prince is as good as anyone the Knicks are losing in either free agency or the trade (sans Barrett), while Kevin Love (if healthy) would be able to rebound and shoot, even if in limited minutes, better than anyone else on their roster. The addition of Collin Sexton would also give them a dynamic scorer that they so desperately need.
For the Cavs, R.J. Barrett would be a nice building block but he’s not going to be an elite scorer. What he already is will more than likely be what he’ll be going forward. Which is fine. Then you add Immanuel Quickley is your sixth man off the bench, while if you can get anything from Obi Toppin, that’s a win. Kevin Knox coming over is a courtesy addition, to help Knicks fans think they actually got something for him.
The draft picks are imperative, mostly because the Cavs aren’t going to be getting much if anything that late in the draft unless you can package them for a team that needs role players. Even if not, you can use those four picks to add some bodies and allow yourself to move on from some bad acquisitions you already have on your roster.