- Ian Begley, ESPN Staff Writer
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Every weekday throughout the season, ESPNNewYork.com will tackle a burning question about the Knicks in our "Opening Tip" segment.
Today's Burning Question: How would you grade the Knicks’ deals at the trade deadline?
On Thursday, the Knicks made a couple of minor moves they hope will provide major benefits.
Here is how we graded them:
RONNIE BREWER TO OKC FOR A 2014 2ND-ROUND PICK AND CASH
WHY IT MAKES SENSE: After starting the first 27 games of the season, Brewer had fallen out of the Knicks' rotation. With Iman Shumpert back from offseason ACL surgery, Brewer became expendable. He was the easiest piece to move to free up a roster spot for Kenyon Martin. The Knicks did Brewer a favor and put him in a position to succeed in Oklahoma City.
WHY IT MIGHT COME BACK TO HAUNT THE KNICKS: The Knicks are struggling mightily on defense, and Brewer is a strong defender. Sure, he wasn’t playing. But prior to the All-Star break, coach Mike Woodson had considered inserting him back into the starting lineup. Now, if Woodson wants to shake up his starting five, he’ll be forced to start Amar'e Stoudemire or J.R. Smith, two moves the coach would be hesitant to make. He also could start Chris Copeland or the newly acquired Martin. Each option has significant drawbacks.
The Knicks wanted to free up a roster spot, and Brewer, who wasn’t being used, was their best option to do so.
SIGNING KENYON MARTIN TO A 10-DAY CONTRACT
WHY IT MAKES SENSE: The Knicks are uncertain about the health of Rasheed Wallace and Marcus Camby, so they brought in the 35-year-old Martin as insurance. If healthy and in shape, Martin can be the solid backup to Tyson Chandler the Knicks hoped they had in Camby and, to a lesser extent, Wallace. Martin also can help Stoudemire rebound and defend the rim off the bench, two things that are sorely needed.
WHY IT MIGHT COME BACK TO HAUNT THE KNICKS: Martin didn’t draw much interest from other teams earlier in the season. Was there a reason for that? Is he too told to contribute? If Martin is ineffective, the Knicks will have gotten rid of Brewer for a second-round pick and nothing else. They also will be left with the same thin frontcourt they had prior to Thursday. Lastly, some will argue the Knicks needed a guard more than they needed a big man.
There’s no way to make a call on this until we see Martin on the floor.
OVERALL GRADE: B
The Knicks didn’t have much wiggle room entering the deadline, and, if Martin is healthy, they will have made a move to upgrade their roster.
Question: How would you grade the Knicks’ moves on deadline day? Is B too high? Too low?
Please leave your thoughts in the comments section below.
You can follow Ian Begley on Twitter.
18dKevin Pelton and Chad Ford