The Knicks Trade the #11 Pick, Kemba Walker and Four Future Second Round Picks for a Mystery Prize

We were all expecting the Knicks to make some sort of move, and they did, in fact, get very busy on the trade market. They tried all night to move up to either #4 or #5 to get Jaden Ivey, and when that failed, also tried to move up to #7 to get Shaedon Sharpe. That didn’t work, either. All of the players that the Knicks were interested in went before pick #11 and you know how Leon Rose is, if the guy he wants isn’t there, he’s trading that pick (whether there were other players there that Rose should have been interested in) and that’s what he did, dealing the #11 pick to Oklahoma City for three of their treasure trove of future first round picks. The three picks were a lottery protected Denver Nuggets pick that would likely convey next year, but also a lottery protected Washington Wizards 2023 pick (that then becomes a top 12 protected pick in 2024, top 10 protected in 2025, top 8 protected in 2026 and then two 2026 second rounders if it doesn’t convey by 2026) and a top 18 protected Detroit Pistons 2023 pick (top 18 protected in 2024, top 13 protected in 2025, top 11 protected in 2025, top nine protected in 2027 and then a 2027 second round pick if it doesn’t convey by 2027).

The Knicks then used the best of the three picks, the 2023 Denver pick (remember, in the NBA, like the time value of money, the sooner a pick conveys, usually the more valuable the pick is) and four future second round picks to convince Charlotte to part with the #13 pick. The Knicks then selected Jalen Duren, which made everyone think that the Knicks were planning to keep him as a replacement for Mitchell Robinson. Instead, though, they used Duren to dump Kemba Walker on the Detroit Pistons, as well as get the 2025 Milwaukee Bucks pick (only top four protected) that the Pistons had just acquired for Jerami Grant. So instead of the Pistons stealing Mitchell Robinson from the Knicks, the Pistons got Duren, instead.

This move thus opened up $13 million on the Knicks salary cap for this offseason ($8 million from Kemba Walker and the $5 million they now no longer had to pay the #11 pick). Clearly, the Knicks are making these moves with the idea of making more moves in the near future, the question is, what will those moves be?

Until they actually make these moves, I can’t really judge what they did tonight.

Oh, and then the Knicks picked up Trevor Keels from Duke in the second round. I don’t know if they’ll even end up giving him a contract, but we shall see. They might be about to make a move that will clear out enough roster space that they might need Keels.

Four second rounders (two of them their own) and going from a 2023 pick in the 20s to a 2025 pick probably in the 20s, as well, is probably a bit high to clear out Kemba’s $8 million salary, but, again, it all comes down to what they needed to clear Kemba’s salary to do. This might turn out to be an amazing move.

We shall see pretty darn soon, as free agency starts in, what, a week?