The Knicks made a three-way trade in the final minutes before the N.B.A. trade deadline on Thursday that brings Emmanuel Mudiay of the Denver Nuggets to New York. The 21-year-old guard was the most prominent piece of the trade that also sent small forward Doug McDermott to the Dallas Mavericks.
As part of the deal, the Mavericks agreed to send Devin Harris to Denver, and the Nuggets and Knicks exchanged second-round picks in the 2018 draft.
Playing without Mudiay on Thursday, the Knicks lost to the Toronto Raptors by a score of 113-88.
Mudiay is coming off a tough two seasons for the Nuggets. After starting for Denver in all but two of the first 109 games he played, the 2015 lottery pick lost the starting job to Jameer Nelson. In 2016, the Nuggets drafted Jamal Murray — another guard — leaving Mudiay to come off the bench. He is averaging 8.5 points in 17.9 minutes a game this season.
Even though Mudiay has yet to make an impact in the N.B.A., this is a low-risk trade for the Knicks because he arrives on a relatively cheap rookie contract that will pay him $3.4 million this season and $4.3 million next year.
With star player Kristaps Porzingis out for the season with an anterior cruciate ligament injury, the Knicks are free to experiment with roster and lineup shuffles. On Wednesday, the Knicks traded Willy Hernangomez to the Charlotte Hornets in exchange for Hornets forward Johnny O’Bryant and second-round draft picks in 2020 and 2021. O’Bryant was waived by the Knicks on Thursday. The Knicks are 23-32 this season and in 11th place in the Eastern Conference.
Thursday’s trade reunites McDermott, who averaged 7.2 points for the Knicks this season, with high school teammate Harrison Barnes in Dallas.
The N.B.A. announced on Thursday that Kristaps Porzingis’s roster spot in this month’s All-Star game will be filled by Kemba Walker of the Charlotte Hornets. In addition, Porzingis will be replaced in the skills challenge by Andre Drummond of the Detroit Pistons.
The Denver Nuggets have acquired veteran point guard Devin Harris as part of a three-team trade with Dallas and New York that will also send Emmanuel Mudiay to the Knicks.
The deal, which was first reported by ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, solidifies Denver’s ball-handling behind rising point guard Jamal Murray. Harris, who was with his second stint with the Mavericks after being drafted by the club in 2004, is averaging 8.5 points, 1.9 assists and 1.9 rebounds in 18.3 minutes per game this season. Harris’ career has also taken him to New Jersey (2008-11), Utah (2011-12) and Atlanta (2012-13) before returning to Dallas in 2013. Harris is on an expiring $4.4 million contract, meaning he will become an unrestricted free agent this summer.
The Nuggets also sent a second-round pick to Dallas as part of the trade, and the Knicks sent a second-round pick back to Denver.
Mudiay, the Nuggets’ 2015 lottery pick, never developed into a consistent NBA point guard during his time in Denver and was in and out of the rotation at different points this season. He averaged 8.5 points, 2.9 assists and 1.7 turnovers over 42 games this season while shooting 40.1 percent from the floor and 37.3 percent from 3-point range. He also ranks last among NBA point guards in defensive real plus-minus, which measures a player’s impact on team success on that end of the floor. Mudiay, 21, is due $4.3 million next season before becoming a restricted free agent in 2019.
“We can’t thank Emmanuel enough for his time in Denver” President of Basketball Operations Tim Connelly said. “Emmanuel has been nothing but a complete professional both on and off the court and has done so much to help improve our organization and the city of Denver. New York is not just getting a good basketball player but a fantastic individual and we wish him the best moving forward.”