Cam Reddish’s best Knicks night adds intrigue to deadline trade veto

PORTLAND – Cam Reddish finally made a Knicks impact on the same day team president Leon Rose rebuffed trading the new fan favorite.

The Lakers tried to acquire the 22-year-old former Dukie in exchange for draft picks before Thursday’s trade deadline, but Rose declined, with the hope coach Tom Thibodeau will give Reddish a bigger role.

With RJ Barrett out indefinitely due to a sprained ankle, Reddish played 19:24 on Thursday against the Warriors — his single-game high as a Knick — and showed flashes of lottery-pick talent.

Reddish scored 12 points on 4-of-8 shooting. One of his buckets was a slithery drive down the lane with a lovely lefty finish. He also looked active on defense, deflecting a few passes and notching two steals.

Though Reddish made just one of two free throws with five seconds left, keeping the Knicks at a two-point lead, it didn’t cost them. Golden State great Klay Thompson misfired at the buzzer of the 116-114 win, the Knicks’ (25-31) first on a five-game road trip that concludes Saturday in Portland.

“I’m just trying to make the most of every opportunity that I get,’’ Reddish said. “I put in a lot of work. I really do know what I can do on the floor. There’s a lot I can do on the floor. My time will come. Whenever it comes, I’ll make sure I’m ready for it.

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Cam Reddish scored 12 points in 19 minutes in the Knicks’ victory over the Warriors.

“Hopefully it all pays off. I got to stay in the gym, make a huge impact defensively. Offense will pretty much take care of itself once I get into a flow.’’

It’s been a bumpy ride for Reddish since the Hawks shipped him to New York on Jan. 15. Reddish, who was averaging 23 minutes in Atlanta, had sought a larger role, but Hawks GM Travis Schlenk sent him to a tough spot because Thibodeau didn’t regard Reddish as an upgrade over the Knicks’ current rotation players. The Post reported Thibodeau wasn’t in favor of the Reddish deal, which cost the team Kevin Knox and Charlotte’s protected first-round pick.

“It’s a learning experience, a lot I can learn from it,” Reddish said, “so I’m just trying to stay ready.’’

Reddish has played the past three games on the trip because of injuries — Kemba Walker missed a game, Quentin Grimes missed two and then Barrett sat out in San Francisco (he’s expected to miss the Blazers game, too) — and what Reddish’s role will be when everyone’s healthy is unclear. Muddling it up further is point guard Derrick Rose’s potential return as soon as Feb. 25, after the All-Star break.

Cam Reddish #21 of the New York Knicks drives to the basket against the Golden State Warriors on February 10, 2022.
NBAE via Getty Images

“Cam has been terrific,’’ Thibodeau said Thursday. “We knew when we made the trade there was a logjam, but his attitude has been terrific, and that’s what I go by. And he’s going to play based on performance. And so it’s how you practice that’s important. It’s how you conduct yourself that’s important.’’

Reddish looked as if he was pressing in Utah and Denver; the Knicks were minus-37 in his 29 combined minutes in the two games. He also went 0-for-4 from 3-point ranger. The former Duke standout finally looked in sync and relaxed versus the Warriors.

“It’s a little better,’’ Reddish said. “I’m really just trying to stop thinking so much, just play my game. I think that’s a big part of it. Obviously learning the plays, stuff like that. I’m getting better with all the plays, obviously my new teammates, different concepts defensively. I’m just trying to stick with it, not trying to be too hard on myself.’’

Knicks fans were desperate for an infusion and supported Reddish’s arrival. During a recent home win over the Clippers, the Garden crowd chanted “We Want Cam’’ in the fourth quarter.

“It’s unreal,’’ Reddish said. “Unbelievable fan support. It’s really hard to put into words how much love I’ve gotten from the city of New York. I’m just appreciative of it all.

Reddish’s agent is Rich Paul, also the rep for LeBron James and Anthony Davis. The Lakers offered picks to the Hawks in exchange for Reddish in January. Reddish said he heard about the Lakers’ pursuit. Then the NBA trade deadline came and went Thursday afternoon.

“It wasn’t tough,’’ Reddish said. “It’s a business. I learned that a few weeks ago. Nothing’s going to faze me. I’m here in New York, happy to be here and hoping to get some more runs.’’

Artmotion U.S.A

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