Knicks Make Surprise Roster Move, Bring Back Familiar Face

The New York Knicks may have stopped at Josh Hart in their attempt to gear up for the playoff push ahead of the trade deadline, but that doesn’t mean that the Leon Rose-led front office is kicking back. On the contrary, the team continues to make tweaks on the back end of its roster.

Just five days ago as of this writing, The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported that the team would be signing big man Moses Brown to a two-way contract. Fast-forward to Sunday evening and the team has already parted ways with the young journeyman to make room for another baller.

Per an official announcement from the Knicks on the night of their 112-108 road win over the Los Angeles Lakers, 19-year-old rookie wing Trevor Keels has been brought back to the Big Apple on a two-way contract.

Brown, meanwhile, makes his Knicks exit without ever having suited up for the club.

Knicks Two-Way Signee Trevor Keels Has the Look of a Tom Thibodeau-Type Player

The 6-foot-5, 220-plus-pound Keels was on a two-way deal with the Knicks for most of this season before the team converted it to a 10-day pact last month. Upon the contract’s March 5 expiration, however, he moved over to New York’s Westchester-based G League affiliate.

Of course, that was hardly a new experience for Keels; between Showcase Cup and regular-season competition, he has logged 35 appearances for Westchester in 2022-23, averaging 13.0 points, 3.3 rebounds, 3.1 assists and nearly one steal per contest.

While those numbers aren’t setting any records, Keels feels like a Tom Thibodeau-type player given his bulldog defensive style and sturdy frame. At the least, there seems to be a level of intrigue there after the Knicks drafted him and later signed him to not one but three different contracts.

And while Keels has played all of four minutes for the big Knicks this season, Thibodeau appears to be invested in his development in the G League. Here’s what the Knicks coach said of that opportunity in February, via USA Today’s Rookie Wire:

I think trial and error is a big part of learning so the more minutes you get on the court… We look at the G League in a very positive way because I think it is the second-best league outside of the NBA. When you’re getting that type of experience, that’s going to help you just continue to grow and learn. All of the things that you’re working on in practice, you can try them in the game and just focus on that improvement.

Knicks Projected for Winnable First-Round Series

Bleacher Report’s Greg Swartz just took a stab at projecting what the NBA Playoff brackets will look like once the regular season and conference play-in tournaments are finally on the books.

For the Knicks, that meant beating out the Brooklyn Nets for the No. 5 seed in the East and beginning postseason play on the road against the Cleveland Cavaliers.

“The nine-game win streak that had the Knicks challenging for the No. 4 seed is now gone, although New York is in prime position to move up from its current sixth spot in the East,” wrote Swartz, who went on to endorse the matchup as a potential gem.

“While neither [the Knicks or the Cavs] are considered among the powerhouses in the conference, this could be the best overall series of the East’s first round.”

The Knicks have taken two of the three meetings against Donovan Mitchell and Co. to date this season. The rubber match will take place on Friday, March 31 in Cleveland.

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