With Jordan Clarkson all but impossible to acquire, the Philadelphia 76ers should turn their eyes to Allonzo Trier in a potential New York Knicks fire sale.
Welp, it’s pretty safe to say the New York Knicks won’t represent the Eastern Conference in the 2020 NBA Finals – that is, unless the team can rally behind interim head coach Mike Miller after the firings of David Fizdale and his chief assistant Keith Smart.
While this shouldn’t be too surprising, as the team is so bad even their fans hate them, it does present a unique opportunity for teams outside of Manhattan to partake in a sort of quarter season fire sale in the hopes of fortifying their rosters a few months before the trade deadline.
With 2019 free-agent signee contracts becoming available to trade on December 15th, all but a handful of players on the Knicks could potentially be had for the right price in yet another attempt to rebuild from the post-Carmelo Anthony-era.
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Need a defensive point guard? Frank ‘Frankie Smokes’ Ntilikina could be a solid fit even if he’s an offensive dud. Wayne Ellington is also more likely than not available, but he’s making $8 million a year and that number would be hard to get to without flipping Mike Scott and/or two-to-three more contracts to get a deal done. Bobby Portis is also on the team, but he’s both too expensive and too not a fit with the system Brett Brown runs.
No, if the 76ers are going to steal a legitimate contributor to their roster in from their New York conference mates, it has to be 2018-19 breakout star Allonzo Trier.
A 6-foot-4, 200-pound combo guard out of Arizona, Trier initially signed with the Knicks on a two-way contract but played himself into a two-year, $6.9 million deal. With a knockdown shot from all over the court, 44.8 percent from the field and 39.4 percent from beyond the arc, and enough moxie to create his own offense, fans in New York treasured Trier as a lone bright spot in their season-long wait to draft Zion Williamson.
Fast forward to today and Zion is a member of the New Orleans Pelicans, the R.J Barrett-led Knicks are 4-18, and Trier is playing a little over 12 minutes a night as a mid-bench reserve.
Could that all change with Miller at the helm? Eh, maybe, but with Barrett locked in as the team’s shooting guard of the future, it’s up in the air as to whether Trier will even have his qualifying offer picked up next spring.
Again, their loss, our gain.
You see, while the 76ers are a pretty darn fantastic team, they could seriously use a bench scorer who can take over any given quarter with the ball in his hands. If recent reports are to be believed, the team has expressed interest in Jordan Clarkson to fill that role, even if a deal is all but impossible because of his massive $13 million cap hit.
Trier, on the other hand, is owed a little less than $4 million and could be had for Zhaire Smith straight up financially, or a combination of Jonah Bolden and Trey Burke, whose contract becomes fully guaranteed in January.
Four-years Clarkson’s junior, Trier is a far more accomplished shooter and grades out remarkably similar when compared using Per 36 Minutes. He may still be a work-in-progress as a facilitator, his ‘Knick’-name is ‘Iso Zo’ after all, it’s not outside of the realm of possibility to project Trier as just as good a pro as Clarkson once he hits his prime, maybe even better.
And best of all, Trier could become a part of the team’s plans long-term.
By adding Trier to the team now, the team can extend the 23-year-old to an extension via some sort of Bird Rights, either after this season or in 2021 after playing a year on a $4.4 million qualifying offer. While doing so would certainly cost Josh Harris and company, as the Sixers are over $4 million over the tax line, if Trier can transform into a Thunder-era James Harden-style sixth man, I imagine they would do so in a minute.
Will it happen? I’d like to think, but as we all know, these things seldom break the way fans want. But if the Philadelphia 76ers are indeed in the market for a walking bucket off the bench who is actually in their price range, Allonzo Trier is a pretty fantastic option that sort of fell into the team’s lap.