With so many Knicks fans eagerly anticipating Thursday’s draft, it could be said that many were left bitterly disappointed by the fact that their only draftee was Trevor Keels with the 44th overall pick. This is accentuated by the perceived anti-climax of a trade with the Detroit Pistons and Charlotte Hornets. This article will give an insight into the Knicks’ draft-day deals while providing a clear judgment on whether or not fans should be pleased with their work made on Thursday night.
The first trade the Knicks made during the draft night was with the Oklahoma City Thunder. This trade involved sending the 11th pick, Ousmane Dieng, to the Oklahoman side in exchange for 3 future first-round picks. These picks belong to the Denver Nuggets, Washington Wizards, and Detroit Pistons respectively. These picks come protected, with the degree of protection diminishing with each year it does not pan out.
The second trade the Knicks partook in was with the Charlotte Hornets. Their second trade was made in exchange for the 14th overall selection. To fulfill their end of the bargain, the Knicks sent the Nuggets’ protected first-round pick alongside four future second-round picks. The 14th pick was then used to draft Jalen Duren, a 6’11 center from Memphis.
The final and most controversial trade the Knicks made on draft night was with the Detroit Pistons. While many were expecting a trade for the former Purdue combo-guard, Jaden Ivey, it is safe to say fans were taken aback once they realized the Knicks were sending Jalen Duren and Kemba Walker to the Michigan-based outfit in exchange for the Milwaukee Bucks’ 2025 first-round pick.
Essentially, the Knicks traded pick 11, four future second-round picks and Kemba Walker for three future first-round picks with protection.
Consequences Of Said Trades
Understandably, many are taking a critical view of the Knicks’ draft-day dealings. However, they may not necessarily have been as detrimental to the side as initially perceived. The trades resulted in them having 11 first-round picks and eleven second-round picks in the next seven years. Furthermore, trading away Kemba Walker has taken his roughly $9 million salary off of the Knicks’ books. This will leave the side with around $18 million in cap space to work with. Given that the Knicks’ front office seems to be so enamored by Jalen Brunson, one could see Thursday’s trade as another step in the process of acquiring the New Jersey native.
Furthermore, this would in fact give the Knicks the cap space they need to sign a slightly less high-end point guard such as Tyus Jones, whose 6.96 assist to turnover ratio is the highest the NBA has seen since 1977.
From this, it’s clear that the Knicks gave up very little for greater financial freedom and future draft selections. Given that Mitchell Robinson is likely to re-sign and Jericho Sims‘ increased usage towards the tail-end of the season, there would’ve been little room for Jalen Duren to effectively develop as a player with the Knicks. In addition, the nature of the 2022 draft class suggests that the Knicks were right in trading their first-round selection. This class was believed to be top-heavy, with most of the talent coming in the top 5 selections.
Final Thoughts On The Deals
Given the financial flexibility alongside the additional draft capital the Knicks acquired as a direct consequence of their draft-day deals, one could lay the claim that these trades may in fact be beneficial for the side in the long run. It would allow them to pursue higher-end free agents, such as Jalen Brunson. If this is not the case the Knicks can package their additional draft capital into a trade to acquire a household star, such as Donovan Mitchell (however this is still likely to just be a pipe dream for Knicks fans!).