Knicks send Cam Reddish to Portland for versatile wing Josh Hart
It was just over a year ago that Cam Reddish was t0raded to the Knicks, arriving with the hope that his chance to shine in the NBA would come under the spotlight of Madison Square Garden. And Wednesday night, he was moving onto his next opportunity.
Reddish was traded to the Portland Trail Blazers along with little-used Svi Mykhailiuk and Ryan Arcidiacano with a protected first-round pick in exchange for Josh Hart — a defensive-minded wing who played with Jalen Brunson at Villanova.
It is a fitting reunion as Brunson was having his number retired at Villanova with a huge contingent of Knicks players, coaches and staff on hand as the deal was first reported by ESPN.
Hart is the sort of player who figures to slip right into the Knicks rotation, a 6-5 wing with strong defensive skills, a good rebounder and a player who has started 51 games this season for Portland.
Hart was averaging 9.5 points, 8.9 rebounds and 3.9 assists this season — including a 10-point, 19-rebound performance against the Knicks earlier this Eason. Hart has a complicated contract situation — earning $12.9 million this season and holding a player option for the same amount for the 2023-24 season.
But if he exercises the option rather than become a free agent the contract becomes non-guaranteed on June 24.
Reddish showed flashes of the potential that made him the No. 10 overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, but had not played in the last 33 games after being benched after a sub-par effort December 3.
The moving of Reddish was not a surprise as multiple sources indicated repeatedly that the team would find him a new home ahead of Thursday’s 3 p.m. trade deadline. But landing Hart for it was a more important return than expected — and that came at a cost with the Knicks including their protected 2023 first-round draft pick which, according to an ESPN report, will convert to four second-round picks if not conveyed this summer.
The Knicks had shopped Reddish openly and return for him in a straight deal was likely to be a second-round pick, so the team had to throw in sweeteners to land Hart, but it shows where the front office sees the team right now.
The Knicks are a team on the fringes of the playoff picture, percentage points out of sixth place in the Eastern Conference, but one that has improved as the season has gone on and is continuing to grow.
“I love our team and that’s really his [Rose’s] job,” Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau said Tuesday. “And you see it’s league-wide right now, things heat up. And that’s his job is to listen to people, to talk, to see what’s going on in the league. And he and his staff are always thinking about the possibilities to improve the team. That’s his job. He’s responsible for that.
“But we love our team and if something were to happen, it would have to be something that he felt very strongly about that would improve the club. But we also know, we have a really good roster that we like. We have a lot of good young players that we know are going to get better as time goes on. So you listen. I have been around a long time — for every 100 trades they talk about one gets done, so just keep focused . . . don’t get distracted. It’s just noise and the good thing is, I think the popularity of our league, it creates a buzz, everyone’s looking at it, but you can’t lose sight of what’s important to us, which is getting ready for the next game.”