A Malcolm Brogdon trade seems to be on the horizon for the Portland Trail Blazers. Rookie point guard Scoot Henderson started 10 of the team's last 11 games, and though he has plenty to improve on, remains the future in Rip City. Coincidentally - or perhaps not - Brogdon took Henderson's place in the starting five in a Jan. 17 home win over the Brooklyn Nets.
Did head coach Chauncey Billups make the swap because of Scoot's recent play? Maybe. But the 19-year-old hasn't been struggling any more than usual and was coming off a 33-point, 9-assist performance in which he only turned the ball over three times. Sure, he was inefficient (it took him 31 shots to get his 33 points), but it was one of Henderson's best offensive games.
Or, and maybe this is more likely even if more pessimistic, did Billups start Brogdon as an audition for teams poking around scouting for a trade? The 31-year-old came off the bench in Portland's previous five games and hasn't played more than 22 minutes since December. He started and played more than 30 minutes in the win over the Nets.
One of the most logical trade destinations for Brogdon is the New York Knicks. He would fit in seamlessly next to the 6-foot Jalen Brunson. He can defend bigger guards, play as a spot-up shooter or take lead ball-handling duties when Brunson sits.
And based on the latest rumors, a Brogdon trade from the Blazers to the Knicks now seems even likelier.
New York Knicks reportedly open to Quentin Grimes trade
The Knicks, who already parted with Immanuel Quickley in the OG Anunoby trade, are now willing to deal one of their other young assets, Quentin Grimes, according to HoopsHype. Quickley was New York's first-round pick in 2020 and the franchise drafted Grimes with the 25th pick one year later.
Grimes showed flashes of being a legitimate NBA scorer last season. At 22 years old, he averaged 11.3 points, 3.2 rebounds and 2.1 assists with shooting splits of 47/39/80. He started 66 times and played nearly 30 minutes a night.
But the former Kansas and Houston standout averages fewer than 20 minutes per game this year and has only started 18 times. His per-36-minute averages hover around those of last season, but his shooting efficiency has dipped minus his 3-point stroke. He's shooting a career-high from deep despite a higher percentage of his shot attempts coming from beyond the arc.
At 6-foot-5, Grimes could be considered redundant in a Blazers backcourt that already features Anfernee Simons, Scoot Henderson and Shaedon Sharpe. But if Brogdon is sent to New York, Grimes will get minutes, and his shooting stroke would be a welcome addition to a team that's 25th in the league in 3-point percentage.
And unlike Portland's current backcourt trio, Grimes is an above-average defender. His defensive rating of 110.1 is third-best of any player who's played at least 28 games for a Knicks squad that's fourth in the NBA in points allowed.
Any deal that sends Brogdon from Portland to New York will include Evan Fournier for salary-matching purposes. Until Grimes became available, the thinking was that a theoretical Knicks offer would include some type of protected first-round pick.
But grabbing a 23-year-old with Grimes' three-and-D potential - potential he's already shown at the NBA level - would be a better option for the Blazers than taking the chance on a late first-round pick.