In January, the New York Knicks traded for Cam Reddish, a third-year wing who was caught in a logjam with the Atlanta Hawks. In a press conference, Hawks president Travis Schlenk revealed that Reddish had requested a trade the previous offseason. Reddish was looking for a bigger role.
On Thursday, the New York Post‘s Marc Berman reported that Reddish once again wants a trade and a bigger role. An NBA source told Berman that, when the Knicks acquired him, Reddish was concerned about being in another logjam.
Twenty-eight minutes after the story was published, the Knicks’ official Twitter account wished him a happy birthday. Reddish turned 23 on Thursday.
In 15 games with New York after the trade, Reddish averaged 6.1 points, 1.4 rebounds and 0.7 assists in 14.4 minutes. For the first three weeks, he was just trying to break into coach Tom Thibodeau’s rotation. Reddish played 20 minutes or more only twice and scored in double figures only twice before a season-ending shoulder injury. This was not at all what he envisioned when he said at his introductory press conference that he thinks he can become “a legit star.”
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Assuming Reddish does not sign a rookie-scale contract extension before the regular season begins, he will be a restricted free agent next summer. Both Berman of the Post and Ian Begley of SNY suggested that he could be moved to the Los Angeles Lakers if the Knicks’ pursuit of Utah Jazz star Donovan Mitchell turns into a three-way trade. Los Angeles tried to acquire Reddish from Atlanta last season, but were only willing to give up a pair of second-round picks, according to The Athletic’s Fred Katz and Chris Kirschner.
Based on what Reddish told Kirschner last October, he wants the ball in his hands with the freedom to make plays. It is difficult to see his path toward that kind of role in New York. If the front office does not trade for Mitchell, then the Knicks’ three main playmakers will be the newly signed Jalen Brunson, the newly extended RJ Barrett and Julius Randle. Derrick Rose will run the second unit, and the emerging Quentin Grimes has proven worthy of more playmaking responsibility. If Reddish has to compete with Grimes, Immanuel Quickley and Evan Fournier for minutes on the wing, he’d be best served by embracing a complementary role: defend like crazy, rebound, make quick decisions, knock down spot-up 3s.
And if Reddish is traded, he’ll likely have to do the same thing, at least until he proves he can be efficient in that role on a consistent basis. While Reddish might have an easier time earning big minutes elsewhere, there aren’t many teams that can realistically feature him as a high-usage playmaker. A rebuilding Jazz team without Mitchell could do it, but the Post reported that there is no indication they want Reddish in a potential deal.