The New York Knicks entered the 2022 NBA Draft armed with the No. 11 selection. The lottery pick was projected to be at the center of trade rumors to go up or down for some coveted prospects like Jaden Ivey, or would they flip for a player that could move the needle and raise their ceiling like Jalen Brunson.
On Thursday night, the Knicks decided to travel down the road and play for the future and traded the 11th overall pick to OKC for three heavily first-round picks and moved Kemba Walker to Detroit via a three-time trade that included the Hornets. The Pistons also received the draft rights to former Memphis big man Jalen Duren.
What the Knicks did tonight:
NYK trades 11th pick to OKC
OKC trades 3 firsts (23 DEN, DET, WASH) to NYK
NYK then trades 23 DEN, 4 seconds to CHA for 13th pick
NYK then trade 13th pick & Kemba Walker to DET for MKE’s 25 first
NYK trades 11, Kemba, 4 2nds & gets 3 future 1sts
— Tim Bontemps (@TimBontemps) June 24, 2022
The Knicks’ draft night moves left their front office with about $16 million in cap space depending on if they move Ryan Arcidiacono and Taj Gibson off their books. The question now becomes, do President Leon Rose and GM Scott Perry have enough to make a run at restricted free agent Brunson.
Brunson is coming off a season where he averaged 16.3 points and 4.8 assists per game on 37.3 percent shooting from beyond the arc. He dismantled the Utah Jazz in the playoffs while running mate Luka Doncic was out with a calf injury. He continued to play a pivotal role in the Mavs’ run to the Western Conference Finals.
If the Knicks cannot acquire Brunson this summer, they’re reportedly expected to target Malcolm Brogdon during free agency.
Thursday’s night decision has disappointed many New York fans, most notably their two most high-profile fans in Stephen A Smith and legendary filmmaker Spike Lee.
IT HAPPENED AGAIN! 😡😡😡 pic.twitter.com/TVqqb6bg8o
— Stephen A Smith (@stephenasmith) June 24, 2022
There was enough fan confusion that Rose felt it was necessary to give a statement and say that the front office remains focused on “strategic and thoughtful” as they attempt to build the Knicks back into a relevant threat for an NBA title.
Knicks President Leon Rose on last night’s draft activity. pic.twitter.com/E2JEIbRzbG
— NEW YORK KNICKS (@nyknicks) June 24, 2022
Moving forward, it’ll be interesting to see what the Knicks do this summer, and moving forward. Knicks fans and the franchise remain in the hunt for their first Finals appearance since 1999 and their first title since 1973.