The NBA trade deadline is just a week away and that means folks are clearing out their notebooks of potential trade targets and registering one final call on the potential to make a deal before crossing the name off entirely.
One such candidate is Detroit Pistons forward Saddiq Bey. I’m reasonably confident that Bey is not going to be moved at the deadline, but his name has been connected to an increasing number of teams lately, with the latest being the New York Knicks.
The Knicks are scouring NBA rosters for solid bench depth at the wing, and the 6-foot-7 Bey fits the profile. According to Ian Begley, NBA Insider of SNY:
“In general, a name that has been talked about recently is Saddiq Bey in Detroit,” Begley reported on Tuesday. “The Knicks are among the teams that have registered some interest in Saddiq. I don’t know how far discussions have gotten, but Bey, obviously a Villanova guy, wing, could help the Knicks from a depth perspective.”
Saddiq being temporarily demoted to the bench is bound to mean his name surfaces in more potential trade rumors, but it doesn’t mean he’s likely to get shipped at the deadline. For one, he’s managed to make his way back into the starting lineup, and that is not likely to change as long as the Pistons are devoid of the center depth that allowed them to experiment with a Jalen Duren-Isaiah Stewart starting frontcourt for a hot minute. Two, it should be noted that while Bey is a flawed player, he’s starting to hit his three-ball with more consistency.
Saddiq Bey is up to 34% from 3 on the season on 5.6 attempts— Motor City Hoops (@MotorCityHoops) January 31, 2023
Last 26 Games - 40% on 5.9 attempts
Last 17 Games - 40% on 6.4 attempts
Last 8 Games - 44% on 7.1 attempts
I know, I know...the missed pass to Duren last night
♂️ ♂️ ♂️ but at least the shooting has improved #Pistons pic.twitter.com/TdKJE9P0aZ
Back to the Knicks, though. In the same segment, Begley does acknowledge the extensive recent history of Troy Weaver’s Pistons doing deals with Leon Rose and the Knicks. There have been three separate recent transactions — for Derrick Rose, for Nerlens Noel and Alec Burks, and a draft pick for Kemba Walker salary dump.
These are not two unwilling parties, and that counts for a lot in the NBA. The Knicks under Tom Thibedou are playing their wings a ton lately, with Obi Toppin the only forward seeing minutes off the bench recently and Cam Reddish completely out of the rotation.
As far as a hypothetical deal, that’s harder to come by. Would it be as simple as Cam Reddish for Saddiq Bey and the rights to Detroit’s heavily-protected future first-round pick back? Is that too much for Bey?
It would appeal to the Knicks because they get an immediate boost off the bench and a young player who is likely of the caliber they would be banking on getting with the eventual Pistons pick anyway. If they’re comfortable with what it would take to retain Bey on a long-term deal, there is no harm in getting what you want now instead of a hypothetical player potentially two or three years down the road.
For the Pistons, the immediate appeal is not just the pick in and of itself, but that it would allow them to gain dealmaking flexibility in being able to trade a first-round pick in another future deal. Now, one of the reasons I never minded the trade of the protected first originally (which netted the Pistons Isaiah Stewart) was that bad teams shouldn’t be trading first-round picks.
Trading that first was a way to protect them from themselves, so I’m not super thrilled about making a move just to have the flexibility to do something dumb. But, hey, maybe that thing wouldn’t be dumb. We know that Weaver has his eyes set on a big 2023 offseason, and the only way to trade for disgruntled stars is to have first-rounders you’re able to put on the table.
Would the Knicks want more than Bey just to stock up their cupboard? Would the Knicks want some more bench depth they’ve used previously? The vibes I get are that they don’t love Isaiah Hartenstein. Would they swap Noel, who has a team option for next season and played 20 minutes per game for New York last season for Hartenstein and his two guaranteed years remaining on his deal? Do they want Kevin Knox back?
So many questions nobody but me is asking. Can’t wait for the trade deadline to be in the rear-view mirror.