The trade deadline is just around the corner, and the sputtering New York Knicks are looking like sellers again this year. Well, that has been the case for the Knickerbockers these past few years. Every time the trade deadline flies over the radar, the Knicks have always found themselves being involved in deals aimed either to shed salaries or collect future assets.

Although the post-Carmelo Anthony era projections for the Knicks weren’t promising in the first place, New York raised hope that they could actually compete by racking up huge wins early in the season.

Unfortunately, they couldn’t sustain the momentum and the playoff buzz surrounding this year’s team is slowly fading away.

Clinching a playoff spot is still very much possible at this point, but they are also facing stiff competition from at least three teams. The Knicks are 21-28, 4.5 games off the 8th placed Milwaukee Bucks, and 2.5 games off the 9th placed Detroit Pistons. Right below them are the 20-27 Charlotte Hornets, who are starting to finally get some wins since the return of head coach Steve Clifford from sick leave.

To make things short, the Knicks are at the crossroad between contending, and God knows how long it will be, rebuilding.

Ian Begley of ESPN reported this week about significant activities within the Knicks front office. They are exploring trade options for veterans Kyle O’Quinn, Courtney Lee and Lance Thomas. The insider also dropped a huge bomb by confirming talks between the Knicks and Hornets centered on All-Star guard Kemba Walker. Frank Ntilikina, the No.7 pick and the last acquisition made by ousted president Phil Jackson, could also be in play in trade talks.

So let’s discuss their potential landing spots and what kind of package the Knicks could possibly get if a deal or two ever happen.

Kyle O’Quinn

Landing spot: Golden State Warriors

Other suitors: Milwaukee Bucks, Los Angeles Clippers and Boston Celtics

Begley discussed the Warriors’ interest in Knicks big man Kyle O’Quinn. O’Quinn, 27, is enjoying the most efficient season in his career as he averages 6.9 ppg on 59.9 FG percent and 5.8 RPG in 17.0 mpg.

The Warriors are scouring the market for a big who can play spot up minutes while rookie big man Jordan Bell is nursing an ankle injury. O’Quinn is every bit of the interior presence the Warrior desperately need right now. His physicality is his biggest strength, but he has can also score if given the opportunity. O’Quinn’s ability to knock down shots from deep fits him really well with the ‘position-less” Warriors.

Package: The Warriors aren’t going to dangle some of their youngster (Patrick McCaw or Kevon Looney) for O’Quinn, though they could attach a second rounder to an expiring contract. Nick Young, who is pocketing $5.1 million this season, is rumored to be that expiring contract the Warriors are willing to use to get the O’Quinn deal done.

O’Quinn is earning $4 million this season and is expected to opt out of the final year on his deal to become a free agent next summer.

Courtney Lee

Landing spot: Portland Trail Blazers

Other suitors: New Orleans Pelicans, Philadelphia 76ers, and Minnesota Timberwolves

Courtney Lee’s skills-set allows him to seamlessly jive with any team or system he plays in. Lee may not have eye-popping numbers (13.6 ppg on 46.4 FG percent and 43.2 3PT percent), but his impact on both ends of the floor is something other teams covet. There’s a good reason why he’s bouncing around the league throughout his career – he’s the ultimate plug-and-play baller.

The Portland Trail Blazers have been zeroing in on the Knicks player for quite some time.

They have depth but lack a game-changer in both forward positions. Acquiring Lee would solve some of their problems, particularly on the defensive end of the floor. But to become a contender, they will need a highly productive forward or at least an efficient floor stretcher to flank big man Jusuf Nurkic.

Package: The Knicks will be asking at least a late first round (heavily-protected) for Lee. The Blazers can afford that, and with the help of the $12 million traded player exception they received after shipping Allen Crabbe to the Brooklyn Nets, they can absorb Lee without matching his salaries ($11 million).

Frank Ntilikina

Landing Spots: Charlotte Hornets

Other suitors: Orlando Magic, Phoenix Suns, Los Angeles Lakers

Let’s face it, Phil Jax drafted Ntilikina to be the point guard of the triangle offense-centric Knicks.

With the Sage Master and the triangle gone, the Knicks are now playing up-tempo basketball. The shift to a faster offense paid dividends early on, as the Knicks came out of the gate strong. However, their struggles in December and January only exposed their glaring deficiency – they need another scorer in the backcourt.

Kristaps Porzingis deserves to be an All-Star this season after putting up 23.1 ppg on 43.7 FG percent and 6.7 RPG. But he can’t carry the Knicks on his back alone. He needs help, perhaps an explosive scorer from the perimeter. In an era where point guards dominate, New York direly needs someone like Kemba Walker or a budding combo guard like Jordan Clarkson to run the show in MSG.

Ntilikina did show flashes of his full potential in some games with his court vision and defensive upside. Still, his offensive game is pretty much raw. He also lacks the explosiveness to blow by elite perimeter defenders and the strength to finish shots off a contact. Walker, meanwhile, is already a proven scorer, averaging 21.9 ppg on 49 FG percent in his career. Walker’s defensive tenacity and ability to read the passing lane is offsetting his lack of size on the defensive end. Clarkson is another player who could thrive in Jeff Hornacek’s run-and-gun offense. Unlike Kemba, Clarkson has the physical tools (6-foot-5) to defend big guards and developed a scorers’ mentality this season.

Package: If the Knicks want to contend for a playoff spot and convince Porzingis to sign the rookie scale extension next summer, they may need to ship Ntilikina for one of those established guards. They could include him in a package to Hornets for Walker or dangle him in a three-team trade involving the Lakers to get Clarkson.