Ronnie Brewer was signed this off-season to help the New York Knicks get through the time where they'd be without Iman Shumpert. He initially played well but then his shots just refused to fall. Once Shumpert returned, Brewer lost his playing time and became a permanent fixture on the Knicks bench. As a result, he was expendable and was put on the trade block. Now he's no longer a member of the Knicks.
As far as the New York Knicks were concerned, Ronnie Brewer had served his purpose for them. He's a defensive player who was brought in as a cheap option to cover the loss of Iman Shumpert. He was a player who could give them perimeter defense and play shooting guard or small forward. However, with Shumpert's return, Brewer was basically not used at all. With the Brewer trade, the Knicks have an additional second round pick for the next NBA Draft and a roster spot for a potential big man for their front court.
It's pretty easy to feel like Brewer got an unfair shake in New York. First, he was named a starter and as soon as the former starter returned, he wasn't even afforded reserve time. His playing time was basically gone. However, it's important to remember that's why Brewer was signed by the Knicks in the first place.
Brewer was an unheralded free agent and was searching for a job when the Knicks gave him a chance. Not only was he given a paycheck, but he was given a starting position on a first-place team and allowed to showcase his talents.
It could easily be argued that playing Brewer next to Shumpert would have given the Knicks the best defensive lineup they could have put on the floor. However, the combination of Brewer's shot not falling and Shumpert's prowess within the organization made Brewer an after-thought.
That doesn't justify the decision, but the Knicks had a decision to make and since the team relies so heavily on jump shooting they decided Brewer's offense was something that didn't justify his impact on the defense. Right or wrong, that's their stance.
That doesn't mean Brewer doesn't have value. To other teams, he represents an inexpensive player that can be used for depth and give them solid perimeter defense. For the Knicks, he represented a roster spot that could be opened for someone. But what could the Knicks could get for him?
That question was answered at the trade deadline when the Knicks were able to trade Brewer to the Oklahoma City Thunder for a second round pick. Reportedly the Knicks will also receive a trade exception. That's a pretty good haul for someone they may have had to cut anyway.
This trade gave the Knicks future value and flexibility and gave Brewer the chance to play on another very good team who has a legitimate chance to compete for a title. Both parties should be happy right now.
This move basically opened up the roster spot the Knicks were looking to use to fill with a big man. They have been dealing with a major lack of depth behind Tyson Chandler because of the poor health of Rasheed Wallace and Marcus Camby.
This open roster spot allows the team to keep both of those veterans and bring in someone else in the mean time to contribute. Look for the Knicks to target Kenyon Martin or Louis Amundson on the cheap.
This move has the chance to be an impact move. It's unfortunate that Brewer wasn't used more but if Martin, Amundson, or another free agent can come in and give the Knicks solid minutes behind Chandler, then trading Brewer to the Thunder will be fully worth it. Even Henry Sims could get a chance.
The bottom line is that the Knicks could have traded Brewer for a marginal center but instead got value for the future and still have the opportunity to bring in a big man that can be signed cheaply and could be an impact player in the playoffs
While Brewer's story was probably never thought to play out this way, it is what it is. The Knicks gave him a chance to play and fill in when they needed him. He did his job. When his services were no longer needed, they turned him into an asset and gave themselves flexibility for now and the future. The handling of Ronnie Brewer was mostly done well by the New York Knicks.
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