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The New York Knicks are reportedly shopping forward Mindaugas Kuzminskas.
Ian Begley of ESPN.com reported the news Tuesday, noting New York has reached out to other teams. However, “the interest level in Kuzminskas, who hasn’t been part of the Knicks rotation this season, is unclear,” Begley wrote.
The motivation behind a potential trade lies in the need to create a roster spot for Joakim Noah.
Begley explained Noah is set to return Monday from his 20-game suspension for taking a banned substance, but the Knicks have 15 players with guaranteed contracts on the roster and need to open a spot for him with a corresponding move.
Trading Noah is also an option, although Begley granted the Knicks haven’t “found a suitable deal” for the two-time All-Star and 2013-14 Defensive Player of the Year even though they have made him available.
The 32-year-old still provided rebounding for New York in 2016-17 (8.8 boards a night) but is no longer the consistent double-double force who could lock down opposing big men when in his prime.
Begley suggested Ramon Sessions is “a likely candidate to be waived,” assuming the Knicks can’t move either Noah or Kuzminskas in a trade, especially since the guard has largely been replaced by Jarrett Jack in the rotation.
As for Kuzminskas, he hasn’t appeared in a regular-season game in 2017-18, although he did post decent numbers in 68 games and five starts in 2016-17.
He averaged 6.3 points and 1.9 rebounds a night, helping stretch the floor with his three-point shooting (32.1 percent) and providing an offensive spark at times off the bench. However, he was a concern on the defensive side of the ball, as opponents shot 7.5 percent better than their normal averages when Kuzminskas guarded them, per NBA.com.
He wouldn’t represent a season-altering addition for any team, but a squad in need of offense in its second unit could find value in a potential trade with the Knicks.