The Knicks did not trade for Jaden Ivey. They did not trade. They fully traded the first round in Thursday’s NBA draft, all with Jalen Brunson in mind, while adding future protected picks and trading some to free up space.
Amid reports that they desperately tried to lure the Purdue superstar guard away from the Pistons, who took him with the fifth pick, the Knicks ended up trading the 11th pick, which was used on the French wing Ousmane Dieng, to the Thunder for three conditioning the future first. -round picks, commissioner Adam Silver announced during the draft. The Athletic reported the picks are all lottery-protected in the 2023 draft, belonging to the Pistons, Wizards and Nuggets.
They then acquired Memphis center Jalen Duren from the Hornets in exchange for several future picks — the 2023 first-rounder belonging to the Nuggets and four future second-rounders — and sent him to the Pistons along with Kemba Walker to free up around $9 million. in salary cap space. As part of the deal with the Pistons, the Knicks received the Bucks’ 2025 first-round pick.
ESPN cap guru Bobby Marks reported the moves would leave the Knicks with $104 million in guaranteed contracts, and the cap is expected to be at $122 million. To land Brunson, the Knicks would need to hit about $25 million under the cap, it is believed.
When the Knicks were originally set to choose, Duren, Westchester one-stop shooting guard AJ Griffin and fellow Duke star Mark Williams were all available. Instead, they took Dieng, resulting in loud boos from Knicks fans at Barclays Center, and quickly dealt with him. Once word spread that they were landing and shipping Duren to the Pistons, some thought it might be for Ivey, but it didn’t materialize.
Ivey said on Monday he would be “honoured” to play for the Knicks and that they were a franchise he saw himself ending up with. Asked about the rumours, he replied: “My agents were controlling all of this.”
Instead of Ivey, the Knicks began to position themselves to land Brunson, the former Villanova star who had a stellar season with the Mavericks. The Post’s Marc Berman previously reported that the Knicks’ plan was to make a run on the pending free agent in hopes that he would be the solution to their long search for a playmaker and playmaker. difference alongside RJ Barrett in the backcourt.
However, it remains to be seen if the Knicks can lure the 25-year-old Brunson away from the Mavericks. He is coming off a career year in which he averaged 16.3 points and 4.8 assists, and was something of a standout in the playoffs, posting 21.6 points per game. Brunson stepped up when star Luka Doncic was out early in the playoffs, exploding for 41 points in a Game 2 win over the Jazz in the first round.
Dallas owner Mark Cuban said he wanted to keep Brunson, noting the Mavericks could pay him more than other teams.
“I think he wants to stay, and that’s the most important thing,” Cuban said after the Mavericks were knocked out of the playoffs in late May.
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The Knicks recently hired Brunson’s father, Rick, to join coaching staff Tom Thibodeau, and can offer him a senior role as a starting point guard. Rose, of course, replaced Brunson at the Creative Artists Agency before joining the Knicks, and Rose’s son Sam is Brunson’s current agent. Common sense would suggest that Leon Rose has an idea if the Knicks can land his former client.
Essentially, that was the crux of Thursday night’s first round for the Knicks: They couldn’t get Ivey, but may have helped themselves in their pursuit of Brunson while adding other upsides.