PORTLAND — Cam Reddish finally made an impact on the Knicks the same day team president Leon Rose pushed back on a trade for the new fan favorite.
The Lakers attempted to acquire the 22-year-old former Dukie in exchange for a draft pick before Thursday’s trade deadline, but Rose declined, with the coach hoping Tom Thibodeau will give Reddish a bigger role important.
With RJ Barrett out indefinitely with a sprained ankle, Reddish played 19:24 Thursday against the Warriors — his best single game as a Knick — and showed flashes of lottery pick talent.
Reddish scored 12 points on 4-for-8 shooting. One of his buckets was a twisty drive down the lane with a nice left-hand finish. He also appeared active in defense, deflecting a few passes and managing two interceptions.
Although Reddish only made one of two free throws with five seconds left, keeping the Knicks to a two-point lead, it didn’t cost them. Golden State great Klay Thompson missed the buzzer for the 116-114 win, the Knicks’ first (25-31) in a five-game road trip that ends Saturday in Portland.
“I just try to make the most of every opportunity that comes my way,” Reddish said. ” I worked a lot. I really know what I can do on the floor. There are many things I can do on the floor. My time will come. Whenever that happens, I’ll make sure I’m ready for it.
“Let’s hope it all pays off. I have to stay in the gym, have a huge impact defensively. The offense will pretty much take care of itself once I’m in a stream. ”
It’s been a bumpy ride for Reddish since the Hawks sent him to New York on Jan. 15. Reddish, who averaged 23 minutes in Atlanta, had been looking for a bigger role, but Hawks general manager Travis Schlenk sent him into a tough spot because Thibodeau didn’t consider Reddish a improvement over current Knicks rotation players. The Post reported that Thibodeau was not in favor of the deal with Reddish, which cost the team Kevin Knox and Charlotte’s protected first-round pick.
“It’s a learning experience, I can learn a lot,” Reddish said, “so I just try to stay prepared.”
Reddish played the last three games of the trip through injury – Kemba Walker missed one game, Quentin Grimes missed two, then Barrett sat out in San Francisco (he’s also expected to miss the Blazers game) – and what will be Reddish’s role when everyone is healthy is unclear. The potential return of point guard Derrick Rose as soon as February 25, after the break of the stars, is even more complicated.
“Cam was great,” Thibodeau said Thursday. “We knew when we made the trade there was a blockage, but his attitude has been great, and that’s what I think. And he’s going to play based on his performance. And so that’s the how you practice is important. It’s how you conduct yourself that is important.’
Reddish looked to be pushing in Utah and Denver; the Knicks were minus-37 in 29 minutes combined in both games. He also went 0 for 4 from the 3-point ranger. The former Duke standout finally seemed in sync and relaxed against the Warriors.
“It’s a little better,” Reddish said. “I’m really trying to stop thinking so much, just playing my game. I think that’s a big part of it. Obviously learning the pieces, stuff like that. I’m getting better with every game, obviously my new teammates, different concepts defensively. I just try to stick with it, not try to be too hard on myself.
Knicks fans were desperate for an infusion and supported Reddish’s arrival. In a recent home win over the Clippers, the Garden crowd chanted “We Want Cam” in the fourth quarter.
“It’s unreal,” Reddish said. “Incredible fan support. It’s really hard to put into words all the love I’ve received from New York City. I’m just grateful for it all.
Reddish’s agent is Rich Paul, also the representative of LeBron James and Anthony Davis. The Lakers offered the Hawks picks in exchange for Reddish in January. Reddish said he heard about the Lakers lawsuit. Then the NBA trade deadline came and went Thursday afternoon.
“It wasn’t difficult,” Reddish said. ” It’s a company. I learned that a few weeks ago. Nothing will faze me. I’m here in New York, happy to be here and hope to get some more races.
New York Post