The New York Knicks have needed a boost to their backcourt off the bench since trading Immanuel Quickley to Toronto in the OG Anunoby deal. Everybody loves a good reunion story, so New York is bringing back Alec Burks from Detroit, and he’s bringing his friend, Bojan Bogdanović. The Knicks are acquiring Burks and Bogdanović in exchange for Quentin Grimes and a trade package to fill out the salaries.
Knicks receive Bojan Bogdanovic and Alec Burks from Pistons for Quentin Grimes, Evan Fournier, Malachi Flynn and two second-round picks. pic.twitter.com/U0yC5bYWAX
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) February 8, 2024
Burks played two seasons with the Knicks from 2021-2023 and was a pretty good bench player there. Bogdanović is a really good scorer and outside shooter. Grimes is a promising guard and the type of player the Pistons really need during this terrible season. I’ve got my red ink handy, so let’s throw down some grades on this trade.
Knicks acquire Bojan Bogdanović, Alec Burks
This is a pretty impressive deal for the Knicks despite giving up Grimes, who helped transform their team last season upon being inserted into the starting lineup. The Knicks have seen a recent scoring explosion from Donte DiVincenzo, but they’ve needed more creation off the bench since moving Quickley to Toronto. Reuniting with Burks gives them exactly that. Burks is tremendous at breaking down defenders with the dribble. He’s struggled to make shots inside the arc this season, but he has the ability to get to the rim with relative ease.
He’s also turned himself into a very reliable 3-point shooter. Over the last four and a half seasons, Burks has made 40.3 percent of his 3s while averaging 4.9 attempts in 290 games. Adding that to the Knicks, along with the much-needed replenishment of backcourt depth, will be huge. The Knicks have looked like monsters since acquiring Anunoby, going 14-2 in the month of January. And they also add Bogdanović in the trade, who should be a great weapon and Julius Randle insurance, in case that shoulder injury gives him trouble.
Bogdanović is a flat-out scorer. Over his last five and a half seasons, the 34-year-old has averaged 18.2 points with 46.6/40.5/85.9 shooting splits. Bring him off the bench when Randle is healthy, and he becomes arguably the best sixth-man scorer in the NBA. If Randle misses more time than anticipated, Bogdanović can be their starting forward and provide even more spacing for guys such as Jalen Brunson to cook. This is one of the best trades the Knicks have made in the last two decades, as they get serious about a deep playoff run. Giving up Grimes is tough, but they got two very good contributors in return.
Bogdanović has one more year on his contract, and Burks will be a free agent this summer.
Pistons acquire Quentin Grimes, Evan Fournier, Malachi Flynn, two future second-round picks
While Pistons fans may have been expecting a first-round pick in return for someone like Bogdanović, Grimes is essentially your first-round pick type of compensation. He’s still only 23 years old, but he has a pretty high basketball IQ. It’s part of the reason the Knicks took off when Tom Thibodeau replaced Fournier in the lineup with Grimes last season. Grimes provides a scrappy defensive mentality and doesn’t try to do too much outside of what’s asked of him on offense.
He’ll get more of an opportunity to explore his game in Detroit, even though the Pistons still have a logjam of players on the perimeter. When healthy, he’ll be competing with Cade Cunningham, Ausar Thompson, Marcus Sasser and Jaden Ivey for minutes and shots. But Grimes’ defensive capabilities should endear him to Monty Williams and the front office to make sure he gets playing time. He’s the type of young player the Pistons need because they just need smarter decision-makers who don’t try to do their own thing.
The rest of the deal is probably just contract filler and second-round picks. Maybe they unleash Fournier and dust him off for a bigger role to finish the season — if they don’t waive him. They have a $19 million team option for next season with him, but Fournier hasn’t really done much since the Knicks brought him in years ago. Fournier could return to his Orlando Magic form, but that’s not exactly going to bring in wins. Flynn probably won’t see much time unless injuries strike. This deal is about bringing in someone like Grimes to help build a more sustainable future.
(Top photo of Bojan Bogdanović: Nic Antaya / Getty Images)