Before the Knicks acquired Cam Reddish from the Hawks for Kevin Knox, it was reported that Atlanta asked Quentin Grimes on Thursday to secure a first-round pick.
But coach Tom Thibodeau has spoken out in a glowing way about Grimes on Friday, perhaps not surprising that the Knicks aren’t willing to part with the rookie.
“I love Grimes. I love Grimes,” Thibodeau said Friday after practice. “He’s a fierce competitor, can shoot the ball, defend multiple positions, and he’s only going to get better. You look at his shot profile, which is great in college. It’s great in pros. So this is a key part of winning. If he looks at defending people, then his competitiveness will stand out.
Grimes has played in 24 games, including two starts this season, but has averaged 4.9 points and shot 38.4 percent from 3-point range in 13.7 minutes. But the Knicks’ recent COVID-19 and injury problems have opened the door for them to look for more and they have taken advantage.
In their previous 10 games – this time the Knicks went 7-3 – Grimes averaged 6.7 points, 2.1 rebounds and one steal in 21.1 minutes.
Although Reddish does not play immediately due to an ankle sprain, it remains to be seen if his arrival will put anyone out of the rotation.
Thibodeau acknowledged that could happen when Kemba Walker and Derrick Rose return from injury, but said they liked how the current rotation is playing out.
“The group that is playing now is playing well,” Thibodeau said. “So we want to pursue that.”
Thibodeau said Walker, who has missed the last seven games with left-knee pain, is “suspicious” of playing against the Hawks on Saturday.
Before he announced his acquisition of Reddish, Thibodeau made sure he gave Knox props, his disappointing Knicks tenure ending after three-plus seasons.
“Kevin did a great job for us,” Thibodeau said. “I have tremendous respect for him and his professionalism. The way he handled himself and certainly we want him to continue.”
Jian Williamson joined Big 3 for the 2018-2019 Blue Devils – Asked if he had heard from any former Duke teammates since the Reddys business was down, RJ Barrett said with a laugh, “We keep it – home,” probably wanting to avoid any blow of tampering.