Victor Oladipo in play as Knicks weigh changes to trade deadline


Blake Griffin is not the Knicks’ cup of tea right now.

As the Pistons buy him, The Post learned that the Knicks will move on to the former All-Star dunk master.

That says a lot about where they are now. Julius Randle, who is in command of the minutes as power forward, was called Thursday by coach Tom Thibodeau, an “NBA player.”

And there is no desire to put team president Leon Rose’s lottery pick, Obi Toppin, on the back burner and hinder its growth. Plus, Kevin Knox is waiting behind the scenes. However, that doesn’t mean Rose won’t explore the possibility of improving the roster’s talent level before the March 25 trade deadline to help advance to the playoffs.

Rose, who wasn’t in her usual Garden seat Thursday when the Knicks met the Pistons in the final game before the All-Star Break, has a lot to weigh as she carries a ton of assets.

Rose is playing for the house money as the Knicks are off to a shocking 19-18 start and rank fifth in the Eastern Conference.

Thibodeau has created a unit with excellent chemistry and camaraderie. Several players have spoken of how “united” the team has become.

Knicks
Victor Oladipo
AP

Rose isn’t sure he wants to tempt fate and mess with the locker room vibe after seamlessly adding Derrick Rose in a Super Bowl Sunday trade.

The Post reported on February 11 that the Knicks were monitoring the availability of superstar Bradley Beal and former All-Star Victor Oladipo. The Wizards are on the rise and Beal has expressed his devotion to the team, so there is no chance they will make him available this season. And there has never been a single legitimate report that the Bulls are open to transferring Zach LaVine, their first All-Star who will not be a free agent until 2022.

Oladipo, however, remains in play for the Knicks as the Rockets are expected to trade him at the deadline as they slide into oblivion. Oladipo will be a free agent in 2021 and reportedly wants to sign with the Heat. That would make Oladipo a hiring, as the Knicks look to boost their bet to end a seven-year playoff drought.

Knicks general manager Scott Perry, while with the Magic, selected Oladipo second overall in 2013, and has been a supporter of a potential trade. But Perry is no longer the ultimate decision-maker. He hasn’t been to the Garden in the last five games, looking for the end of the G-League bubble season.

Oladipo, who has recovered from knee surgery, recently missed four straight games with a foot problem and has been struggling to shoot lately. But he’s averaging 20 points and his 3-point percentage is 36.2 percent. Some scouts, however, remain concerned about their physical condition.

If swingman RJ Barrett continues to progress as a consistent offensive force, the Knicks could see Oladipo as less necessary to fix the backcourt scoring.

According to a source who has been in contact with the Knicks’ top brass, the franchise is still unsure whether the team has a safe starting point.

As electric as rookie Immanuel Quickley has been, they still think he could be a sixth man or start off as an off-the-ball guard in the correct lineup. You are not considered an elite playmaker.

That’s why the Knicks have always been on the lookout for Hornets point guard Terry Rozier and young Pelicans playmaker Lonzo Ball (who would likely be more of a summer trade).

The Knicks are still in a waiting pattern with regards to adding a traditional center to the roster. Starter Mitchell Robinson will be out until perhaps the end of March with a broken hand and Taj Gibson will be out indefinitely with a severe ankle sprain.

The Knicks would have to eliminate a player, probably Austin Rivers, who fell out of favor with the addition of Rose and has not adjusted to his new role as an entertainer.

Nerlens Noel has been excellent maintaining the strong central, crowned by his performance against the Pistons on Thursday: 12 points, 5 of 5 shots from the field, 11 rebounds, four steals, two blocks.

Noel has bad knees, however, fewer minutes would be better for his longevity. The Post has reported that the Knicks have “analyzed” whether former All-Star center Andre Drummond would be a good fit in chemistry with Randle.

The Post also learned that the Knicks have had internal conversations about their former center, Kyle O’Quinn, a native of Queens. O’Quinn played sparingly for the 76ers last season, but was ignored in free agency in November. O’Quinn signed with a team in Turkey, Fenerbahce, in January and has made 21 of 26 shots in seven games.

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