Thursday, June 30, 2022

2022 NBA Draft: Breaking down the Knicks’ three separate trades after moving Kemba Walker

Draft night for the New York Knicks is usually pretty simple: they make a pick their fans hate, the fans boo it like crazy and the the fans’ negative reaction then becomes a story of its own. Thursday night was not so straightforward, as the Knicks were the busiest team in the 2022 NBA Draft

They pulled off three separate trades that had players and picks flying all over the place, and it took hours to figure out all of the details. Now that the dust has settled, let’s take a closer look at all the moves the Knicks made on Thursday.

Knicks–Thunder trade

Knicks receive:

  • 2023 first round pick via Detroit (protected 1-18 until 2024, protected 1-13 in 2025, protected 1-11 in 2026, protected 1-9 in 2027)
  • 2023 first round pick via Washington (protected 1-14 in 2023, protected 1-12 in 2024, protected 1-10 in 2025, protected 1-8 in 2026)
  • 2023 first round pick via Denver (protected 1-14 until 2025)

Thunder receive:

  • No. 11 pick (Ousmane Dieng)

The Knicks had the No. 11 pick entering the night, and there was a lot of talk about them potentially moving up. Instead, they decided to trade out of the first round by sending that pick to the Oklahoma City Thunder in exchange for three future first rounders. While the Knicks do need help now, getting three first round picks in exchange for one is pretty good value. 

Knicks–Hornets trade

Knicks recieve:

  • No. 13 pick (Jalen Duren)

Hornets receive:

  • 2023 first round pick via Denver (protected 1-14 until 2025)
  • 2023 second round pick via New York
  • 2023 second round pick via Utah
  • 2023 second round pick (most favorable pick between Dallas and Miami)
  • 2024 second round pick via New York

Shortly after completing the deal with the Thunder, the Knicks then got back on the phone and worked out a trade with the Charlotte Hornets. They took the 2023 first via Denver they got in the Thunder trade, and packaged it with four future seconds for the No. 13 overall pick, who would become Jalen Duren. 

Knicks–Pistons trade

Knicks receive:

  • 2025 first-round pick via Milwaukee (protected 1-4)

Pistons receive:

Finally, the Knicks then flipped the No. 13 pick (Jalen Duren) and Kemba Walker to the Detroit Pistons in a third deal. In return, the Knicks got a 2025 first-round pick via Milwaukee, which the Pistons had previously acquired in the Jerami Grant trade earlier this week. 

Final haul for the Knicks

  • 2023 first round pick via Detroit (protected 1-18 until 2024, protected 1-13 in 2025, protected 1-11 in 2026, protected 1-9 in 2027)
  • 2023 first round pick via Washington (protected 1-14 in 2023, protected 1-12 in 2024, protected 1-10 in 2025, protected 1-8 in 2026)
  • 2025 first-round pick via Milwaukee (protected 1-4)
  • $18 million in cap space

After all the wheeling and dealing, the Knicks closed the night with three future first-round picks and some extra cap space. It’s no secret that they’re going to use that money to try and sign Jalen Brunson in free agency. They recently hired his dad as an assistant coach, and now have enough cap space to make a competitive offer. There’s no guarantee that they get him, but they have a much better chance now than before the draft. 

The question, though, is whether their tunnel vision for a chance to sign Brunson clouded their judgement. A lottery pick seems like a steep price to pay to jettison Walker’s contract and enter the Brunson sweepstakes. It’s easy to make a case that they would have been better off just making the first two trades. In that scenario, they keep Duren and walk away with two extra future firsts. As for the cap space situation, they could have figured something else out later. 

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