The New York Knicks are torn between contending and selling assets with the trade deadline just around the corner. Late-game hiccups are preventing the Toronto Raptors from becoming a legit threat in the East. They may look into adding a 3-and-D guy to their rotation.

No matter what directions they are going to take, these two teams are expected to be active players in the days leading up to Feb. 8 trade deadline.

New York Knicks

Franchise player Kristaps Porzingis wants the front office to make deals that help the Knicks contend for a playoff spot.

New York (23-28) is three games behind the Philadelphia 76ers (24-23), who are currently sitting at No.8 in the Eastern Conference standings.

The Latvian big man said he’s willing to give the front office few suggestions on how to approach the trade deadline. The Knicks top dog presumably lobbies for another veteran acquisition, believing that being around with more battle-tested players will only make himself ready for the postseason grind. Porzingis, however, cleared that he won’t be interfering with Knicks GM Scott Perry and president Steve Mills.

The Knicks' front office is already preoccupied with a handful of issues, including their looming decisions on the future of Courtney Lee, Lance Thomas, Willy Hernangomez and Enes Kanter, who are all drawing interests from opposing teams.

New York is also looking for ways on how to unload disgruntled center Joakim Noah and his $17MM per year albatross deal. The Knicks reportedly approached Noah’s camp about a potential buy-out, but the former All-Star big man isn’t inclined to give up a significant amount of money just to complete a buy-out.

Attaching a draft pick or one of their promising young players to Noah might be the only option for the Knicks, as they attempt to shed salaries and create some payroll flexibility moving forward.

Toronto Raptors

The Raptors have been perennial playoff contenders the past four to five years, yet their biggest accomplishment during this run was pushing the Cleveland Cavaliers to six games in the Eastern Conference finals two years ago.

That could change this year with the Raps looking like a more serious threat to dethrone the inconsistent Cavaliers this year.

DeMar DeRozan is in his prime and putting up MVP-caliber numbers through the first three months. The Raptors’ young bench is also able to produce the kind of numbers present in any title contenders.

However, Blake Murphy of the Athletic pointed out that the Raptors haven’t reached their ceiling yet and they can still become a much better team if they find a way to close games without relying too much on DeRozan.

The shift to a new offensive system predicated on ball sharing has been the game-changer for this year’s Raptors. This new identity has made Toronto a lot harder for opposing teams to defend since the ball no longer stops at DeRozan and Kyle Lowry. However, Murphy noticed that the Raptors haven’t fully abandoned the hero ball approach, as they are still looking for their stars, particularly DeRozan, to make the big plays in tight games.

This tendency is hurting the team overall, with the Raptors only 12-11 every time DeRozan gets used 44.5 percent in clutch situations

Murphy opined that adding another 3-and-D player at the trade deadline would solve the problem. This year’s trade market features several two-way players like Courtney Lee, Kent Bazemore and Tyreke Evans who are capable of filling that void in the Raptors roster. Unfortunately, their front office has to be creative in their pursuit of a player of that caliber because the Raptors no longer have a prime draft pick in their stash.

They could offer some of their young talent but Masai Ujiri has taken a conservative approach on dangling young talents for short-term gain. It would take a game-changing talent, someone capable of catapulting the Raptors to the top of the Eastern Conference, for Ujiri to let go of his youngsters.