Former NBA Executive Believes Knicks Are Still A Sleeping Giant

Ex-Suns General Manager Ryan McDonough Joins Evan Roberts And Kim Jones

Joe & Evan
February 05, 2020 - 6:13 pm

With the NBA trade deadline looming and Knicks' rumors swirling, former league executive and current RADIO.COM basketball Insider Ryan McDonough joined WFAN’s Evan Roberts and Kim Jones to sort through the reports.

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Jones began the interview, asking the former general manager of the Phoenix Suns, what he expects the Knicks to do leading up to Thursday’s 3 p.m. trade deadline.

“When you put 'expect' and the 'Knicks' in the same sentence, I think that could be a difficult one to answer because Knicks fans listening probably know to expect the unexpected,” McDonough answered.

In an unconventional move, the Knicks fired team president Steve Mills just two days before the NBA trade deadline. A decision McDonough says likely caused confusion for other teams.

“It does put some instability into the mix and some confusion on the part of the other 29 teams in the league as far as what are New York’s objectives,” McDonough said. “What are their goals and are the previous conversations other front offices had with the Knicks front office, which was led by Steve Mills, are those conversations and is that information still relevant?”

One topic of discussion is whether or not the Knicks should look to trade forward Marcus Morris. McDonough was the general manager in Phoenix when Morris played for the Suns earlier in his career and the former executive highlighted the forward’s growth as a player and person.

“It’s good to see him progress as a player and the fact that he’s shooting 44% from three on six attempts a game, he’s a tough, rugged defender, there’s a reason why championship contending teams starting with the two in L.A. are interested in Marcus and that’s a testament to how he’s grown as a player,” McDonough told Evan and Kim.

But with Morris having a career season and being a free agent this summer, McDonough believes the Knicks should trade him.

“Looking at the Knicks from afar, it’s clear to me that they should trade him and I think the objective for (general manager) Scott Perry and the remaining front office members would be to get the most they can for Marcus Morris,” McDonough said.

Knicks small forward Marcus Morris reacts after a 3-point shot against the Dallas Mavericks on Nov. 14, 2019, at Madison Square Garden.
Brad Penner/USA TODAY Images

Roberts asked what could the Knicks expect to receive as as realistic return for Morris?

The Los Angeles Lakers and Clippers, both interested in Morris, don’t have a wealth of first-round picks, complicating a potential trade. But the Clippers do have the ability to trade this year’s first round pick and according to McDonough, a package that includes Moe Harkless and their top draft selection could be enough to land Morris from the Knicks.

As the Knicks search for their next executive to replace the recently fired Steve Mills, Kim asked McDonough how he views the franchise.

“I think the Knicks are viewed as a potential sleeping giant in the NBA,” McDonough said, adding that it’s an attractive job if the incoming team president is given autonomy to do the job.

McDonough also believes the Knicks should be targeting the most experienced executive they can get. “When I saw the Knicks were thinking about hiring somebody new who hasn’t been in a front office to do the job, I scratched my head a little bit because…wasn’t that part of the thought process with Phil Jackson coming in a few years ago?”

The Knicks were previously rumored to be interested in Toronto Raptors president of basketball operations Masai Ujiri. Ujiri is under contract next season and would require the Knicks to send compensation to Toronto, something McDonough wouldn’t hesitate to do.

“If I’m advising (Knicks owner) Mr. Dolan, Masai would be the first call I make, McDonough said on WFAN. “Give him a blank check, give up a first round pick that you have coming from Dallas, give him the resources to do the job and then stay out of his way.”