With less than 24 hours until the NBA Trade Deadline, the Portland Trail Blazers completed their first transaction last night in a trade with the New York Knicks. Portland sent forward Josh Hart to New York for a 2023 lottery-protected first-round draft pick, Cam Reddish, Svi Mykhailiuk and Ryan Arcidiacono.
The Blazers, received solid draft capital, along with the 6’8, 23-year-old Reddish, an underperforming 2019 lottery pick who could benefit from a new opportunity. The inclusion of Mykhailiuk and Arcidiacono, two low-end bench players, appears to be salary filler to make the Hart-for-Reddish swap work.
For the Knicks, they get a hustling, jack-of-all-trades role player in Hart to add to their forward rotation.
In the aftermath of the trade, NBA analysts and salary cap gurus from various national publications are weighing in on the merits of the move for both sides: Who won the trade? Did appropriate value change hands? Etc.
Here are some of the instant reactions and grades from around the NBA media landscape.
(Note: If the Knicks’ first round pick doesn’t convey this season, it will turn into four future second round picks).
Bobby Marks: ESPN
In an eight-minute breakdown on YouTube, trade market expert Bobby Marks of ESPN found the deal reasonable for Portland and New York. With Portland likely not willing to pay to re-sign Hart this offseason, Marks said a flier on Reddish, along with draft capital is good business.
You can take a flier on Reddish. He hasn’t played since — God, I mean, he’s been in the Witness Protection Program since December in New York. Former lottery pick, big wing. It’s worth a three-month flier on, audition. [He’s a] restricted free agent. We’ll see if he gets a qualifying [offer]. Maybe he takes off, I mean, we’ve seen situations before. You throw him out there and we’ll see what he can do.
...Remember, Portland owes Chicago a top-14 protected [pick] that’s encumbered for basically like the next six years, so you recoup a draft asset — a first round pick — for a player that you likely were not going to sign because of what the cost associated with him was.
Marks also explained the deal puts Portland further under the luxury tax threshold ($3.4 million under instead of $67,000) which gives the Blazers more flexibility for a possible second deal. The Blazers must do something before the trade deadline passes, whether it’s a waiving or another trade, because the New York deal brings the roster to one over the 15-player limit.
From New York’s perspective, Marks said the Knicks got a player archetype in Hart that’s viewed as a “premium” on the market.
You get a big wing, right? Wings are a premium in this league. A wing that can rebound, that can defend. ...New York is a good offensive rebounding team, now you get Hart to the mix here. He is an upgrade over Reddish. ...He was sought out on the market.
Zach Harper: The Athletic
Zach Harper of The Athletic is less keen on the trade for Portland, writing that Reddish hasn’t been a reliable NBA player yet, despite the grand potential. He gave Portland a C-plus grade.
So what does Reddish bring? He was a big-time prospect in high school and at Duke, but we haven’t seen him hit that potential at the NBA level. His first two seasons in Atlanta were rough. He shot under 40 percent from the field, his defense was nonexistent and his scoring/shooting ability didn’t show up. He barely played for the Knicks. Is he a shooting prospect who can’t shoot?
The idea of Reddish has always given off better vibes and possibilities than reality. Now the Blazers can be his third attempt at finding a way in the NBA.
Maybe the value is in the first-round pick Portland received. And if it does not convey, it becomes four future second-rounders. You normally see a protected first not convey and then turn into one or two second-round picks. Four is an aggressive stipulation for Portland to get. The Knicks are banking on making the postseason but still protecting themselves should they fall out of the top six and not win the Play-In Tournament. This trade looks better for the Blazers if this first-round pick conveys.
Harper likes the deal from New York’s side a little more, especially since coach Tom Thibodeau didn’t even play Reddish. He gave the Knicks a B grade.
To get Hart back in the deal seems like a good pickup for the value they had on Reddish. Hart has been around for only five-plus seasons, but it feels like he’s a 10-year veteran. He is a great locker-room presence, a solid defensive wing and a good distributor for someone who plays a lot of the two guard.
Jack Maloney: CBS Sports
Pending a splashier secondary deal, Jack Maloney of CBS Sports writes this move makes it clear Portland is playing as a seller at the deadline. He’s not mad at the strategy, giving the trade a B-minus grade for the Blazers.
But even if [the Blazers] do sneak into the playoffs, it’s clear this team is not going anywhere this season, so they made the wise choice to become sellers. Hart is a super helpful role player, but he doesn’t move the needle enough on a middling team like the Blazers and will likely opt out and become a free agent this summer. Instead of paying him, they’ll take the upside of Reddish and a potential extra first-round pick.
Reddish was highly touted coming into the league, but has not been able to put things together in his first two stops with the Atlanta Hawks and Knicks. He’s shown some flashes on both sides of the ball, however, and is still only 23 years old; it doesn’t hurt the Blazers to take a look at him. A definite first-round pick would have been better for the Blazers, but four second-rounders is more than the usual trade-off for a selection that doesn’t convey.
Maloney gives New York a B-plus for the move, calling Hart the “ideal player for a Tom Thibodeau team,” especially if he starts knocking down 3-pointers again.
In addition to the versatility and toughness he’ll bring on defense, Hart is a solid secondary playmaker, a willing cutter and a terrific offensive rebounder for his size. The big question is whether he can rediscover his 3-point shot. He’s struggled from behind the line this season (30.4 percent on 2.2 attempts per game) but is a career 34.3 percent shooter. If he can get back up into that range from 3, it will be a big boost for the Knicks.
The Knicks also did well to get the lottery protection on the first-round pick, which gives them some insurance against a post-All-Star break collapse or a disappointing result in the play-in tournament. However, they did have to give up a first-round pick to get Reddish and then give up another one in the trade to get rid of him, which isn’t great asset management. It’s also worth noting Hart has a player option for next season and can become an unrestricted free agent this summer. Still, this is a nice trade for the Knicks, especially considering they didn’t lose any rotation players.