Detroit Pistons Took the Chance to Repeat the Knicks 2021 Offseason

From ESPN.com:

The New York Knicks traded center Nerlens Noel and guard Alec Burks to the Detroit Pistons — clearing $19 million in additional salary-cap space — and they are now able to make an overwhelming contract offer in the neighborhood of $110 million to free-agent guard Jalen Brunson, sources told ESPN.

The Knicks included two future second-round picks and $6 million to incentivize the trade, sources said, and they now have approximately $30 million in cap space to make a massive four-year offer to Brunson. The offloading of players and assets to create the space clearly reflects the Knicks’ confidence they can reach an agreement with Brunson sometime after the opening of free agency.

The Detroit Pistons now have Alec Burks, Nerlens Noel and Kemba Walker, in other words, 3/5th of the free agent signings that the Knicks made just last offseason and the Knicks now have the cap room that they spent one first rounder and six second rounders to clear.

This seems pretty clear that the Knicks ARE getting Jalen Brunson, but now it’s just a question of how much of their newfound cap room will they spend on Brunson.

The amusing thing is that since their various deals this offseason will cap the shit out of the Knicks, I imagine that means that there is an actually really good chance at Cam Reddish getting an extension from the Knicks after this season, as they won’t have cap room to spend on anything else. Unless, of course, Reddish is included in a second trade that the Knicks might be setting up for with the additional first round picks that they traded for.

Well, let’s see what the other shoe is after the Brunson signing happens. Will they trade for a big star like Bradley Beal or Donovan Mitchell? Let’s find out!

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42 thoughts to “Detroit Pistons Took the Chance to Repeat the Knicks 2021 Offseason”

  1. Rumours overnight that the Knicks might pivot and ALSO pursue Murray. I like Murray, and I get that having multiple high IQ ball handlers who can create offense is sort of a nice problem to have.

    But.l a starting five of Murray, Brunson, RJ, Randle and Mitch is so counter-cyclical to NBA trends it blows my mind. Everyone else is going for multiple switchable wings in the 6-6 – 6-8 range who can handle and shoot. We’d have three guys under 6-5, 3pt percentages of 30, 33, 34, 37 and 0, and four guys who want the ball in their hands and do their best work driving to the rim, plus a rim-running 5. Whatever the definition of a ‘plan’ is that we settled on over the last few days can we agree this one would be unlikely to work well?!

  2. I mean, I guess if they trade, what, IQ, Reddish and a bunch of picks for Murray, then they could trade RJ for a taller 3 and D guy, right? It would avoid the whole worry about overpaying RJ, at least.

    Brunson and Murray could obviously co-exist, but yes, I don’t see Brunson, Murray and RJ coexisting.

  3. Alan:
    Guys. I’m a writer. Words have meaning. We did not literally light the 33rd pick on fire, or the 19th, or the 11th, or the 13th. We may not have even metaphorically lit all of them on fire. Just several.

    None of them were lit on fire. Each and every one retained much if not all of its original value. Each one, if exercised at the time, had a high probability of being worth much less than it is right now, i.e. being virtually worthless in these transactions. You could reasonably debate whether the moves were prudent under the circumstances or about the way the proceeds were expended, e.g. the CHA conditional pick being used along with Kevin Knox to acquire Cam Reddish and yes, another second rounder, but the incineration metaphor continues to be gratuitous and unnecessary.

  4. Brian Cronin:
    I mean, I guess if they trade, what, IQ, Reddish and a bunch of picks for Murray, then they could trade RJ for a taller for a taller 3 and D guy, right?

    I’m not buying the Murray rumors, but they clearly are going to do something with their trove of first rounders. The nice thing is that all of their first rounders are tradeable right now, while many teams can’t trade their own firsts without dropping the conditions on the ones now owned by other teams unless they go out into their future draft stashes.

  5. english_knick, RJ is 6’6″, but the rest of your point stands.

    Even without a Murray deal, I’m not sure what the endgame is — or how far we go if Brunson is the endgame. Begley reported that the latter is not the case — that the FO understands Brunson is not in any way the final piece — but how do we go from the current roster plus Brunson plus a re-signed Mitch into a team that can make some noise in the playoffs, or even be guaranteed of avoiding the play-in? Barring a trade, the only path to that is a quantum leap forward by RJ, who is the only one of our prospects guaranteed big minutes, even though IQ, Grimes, and Obi will all play as backups (and there’s a small chance Grimes starts over Fournier). And while I wouldn’t bet against a guy who works as hard as RJ, and who is as self-aware of his game’s weaknesses as RJ, the path from where he is now to what we would need him to be is as narrow as this overall roster’s path is to real contention.

    Feeling very much like Nicholson in A Few Good Men telling Tom Cruise, “I hope you have something more. These two Marines are on trial for their lives. Please tell me their lawyer hasn’t pinned their hopes to a phone bill.”

  6. I’m not buying the Murray rumors, but they clearly are going to do something with their trove of first rounders. The nice thing is that all of their first rounders are tradeable right now, while many teams can’t trade their own firsts without dropping the conditions on the ones now owned by other teams unless they go out into their future draft stashes.

    I don’t really think it will happen, either, but it sadly also falls very well into the general pattern (let me stress, general pattern, I’m not putting this on Rose specifically) of teams with picks to trade and a need for a star going for the first star who becomes available that they can actually acquire, ya know? In the past, the Knicks haven’t had good timing on when guys like that went on the market (except, I guess, Melo, if you want to count that as “good timing”), but it often feels like teams go for the first star who hits the market when they’re ready to buy.

  7. Yeah I hadn’t really thought about the ‘trade RJ’ angle. I guess if you can get that wing prototype for him and picks then sure, and as you say it resolves the contract question. Not sure who the trade target would be though…

  8. (except, I guess, Melo, if you want to count that as “good timing”)

    Given the purgatory that trade put us into for the better part of a decade — and, for that matter, what a bummer Melo was to watch as a player(*) — I can’t imagine anyone on this site would call that good timing, Brian.

    (*) Less aesthetically pleasing offensive game: Melo’s 8,000 jab steps into a contested long two, or Randle’s 8,000 dribbles and spins into a contested long two?

  9. True, but at the time, it appeared to be good timing that a star was on the market when the Knicks were ready to deal, right?

  10. Seeing the trade excited me because it means Rose is most likely making other moves to improve the team- given the extra cap space cleared. I don’t know what that is, but it almost feels like all of Rose’s silence will be worth it.

    As far as Brunson goes- cool. I had resigned myself to the fact that we would have to overpay him to steal him away, but 4/110 is more than I expected and a tad too much for my liking. He better be great if he signs. Assuming he signs, it feels good to FINALLY be able to sign an ascending player who’s arguably good enough to make the ASG. Even if his production stays the same as last season, it’s an improvement. I don’t trust the fit with Randle AND RJ though. Unless Randle’s shot rebounds. In this scenario, I’d much rather start Obi and have constant movement around RJ and Brunson.

    We’ll see what happens next, but one thing’s for sure- I am officially anxious for tomorrow

  11. By the way… if Brunson leaves Dallas for nothing they really are screwed, so S&T makes loads of sense. But we just traded most of what might have helped them to Detroit.

    If we give Brunson the de-escalating 110m deal that’s been reported, it starts at 29.2m. That counts as 14.6 m outgoing for Dallas. I think they’d need to get to about 18m outgoing to be able to take Julius back. Dallas has wanted him before and he might be better than anything else then can get if Brunson just walks, or with a 14m exception if they just trade him to our space. If we did that, we’d keep north of 20m in cap space and could absorb a decent player-for-picks deal into space if one arose, without the need to include Randle or Fournier forcing us to add extra assets.

    Who says no? Randle to Dallas, Brunson and throw-ins to NY?

  12. I think we will be overpaying.a bit for Brunson, but it’s almost a RFA situation where we’re competing against a team that would match anything less so you kind of have to if you really want him.

    As to the 11th pick, as Jeremy and Macri pointed out on KFC, it’s pretty telling that OKC drafted Dieng and Jalen Williams at 11 and 12 and that CHA was willing to give up 13 for such a low price. This suggests that no one coveted the 11-13 spots enough to draft the likes of Eason or AJ Griffin or even Duren enough to give up anything of value to move up for them. Rightly or wrongly, there was a fear that these picks would not have much value in future transactions once they were made. So rather than tie up cap space on that draft slot, the Knicks chose to use their only 2022 second rounder on a guy who fits the lottery flier MO… an18yo raw but intriguing prospect who might have gone much higher next year if he stayed at Duke. Keels has a good chance of exceeding the value of his draft slot, and doesn’t tie up any cap space.

  13. Brian, I will not attempt to revisit the feelings on KB at the time. Don’t want to bring down the mood any more than necessary while we are all wrestling with our feelings on the Brunson situation and where it leaves us going forward.

  14. Of all the picks we traded away I think this years is the closest to incineration. We traded #13, a lottery pick, ie very likely to be a rotation player in the NBA, just to dump Kemba’s salary and get a late 1st 3 years from now. A savings of one year, $9 million. We could have stretched him and saved $6 million of that so really it was a savings of $3 million. It is clear now with the trades of Noel and Burks that we did not need to make the trade to be able to afford Brunson, so we moved a lottery pick, most likely a very nice young player, to save $3 million that we probably won’t even need. I do not see how that can be spun into almost equal value or a more valuable future asset.

    Of all Leon’s moves that is the worst one yet, close to the #19 fiasco but I think even worse. And it shows a clear disregard, especially now that it has happened two years in a row, for trying to get good young players in the draft. Leon, it seems, would rather sit on his hands waiting for some mythical “big move”. And even if it does come we would have a better shot of pulling it off if we developed good young players rather than collecting future late 1st round picks.

  15. As to the roster as it will stand assuming Brunson comes aboard, it still doesn’t seem all that competitive, but that’s the beauty of having all of our own picks plus additional ones. There’s always the option of tanking for a season if things go south. While that’s unlikely with Thibs as coach, he’s not etched in stone…WWW was already firing shots across his bow last year and during the offseason he admitted that he should have played the younger players more which suggests that he’s feeling some pressure in that regard.

    There have also been reports that Julius has been told he will need to accept a lesser role. Maybe he does, maybe he doesn’t, but at least it’s out there and if he doesn’t he’ll deserve the fan reaction he will get if he keeps playing dumbly and selfishly. But I’m a believer that he can do it, and that he restores enough value to be considered a neutral player on his contract.

    Fournier seems to be the next guy to consider moving. I think he’s too good for a salary dump and fills a role (Celtics killer?) Fine with keeping him around until something too good to pass up happens.

    I’ll be interested to see how next week plays out. It’s pretty exciting to know that we won’t be just running the same team out there.

  16. It is clear now with the trades of Noel and Burks that we did not need to make the trade to be able to afford Brunson, so we moved a lottery pick, most likely a very nice young player, to save $3 million that we probably won’t even need. I do not see how that can be spun into almost equal value or a more valuable future asset.

    Well, we have to wait to see what they do with the extra $3 million first, right? Maybe it was necessary for what Rose has planned.

  17. Ben R: most likely a very nice young player

    Actually the data suggests that the 13th pick in a draft like this one will yield someone who will never be worth a 13th pick in a subsequent draft.

  18. Ben R: And it shows a clear disregard, especially now that it has happened two years in a row, for trying to get good young players in the draft.

    It’s not a disregard, it’s an alternative approach. Obi, IQ, Grimes, Sims and hopefully Deuce, Rokas and Keels are all examples of “trying to get good, young players in the draft.”

  19. Can someone articulate how we could have done it and kept the pick?

    By not having Julius Randle, Evan Fournier, Alec Burks, Nerlens Noel, Kemba Walker, Derrick Rose, and Cam Reddish on the books for $93mm.

    Not only could we have kept the pick, but the pick might have been a great one.

  20. While there is something to be said for recognizing your mistake and moving on from it — it is basically incontrovertible that last year’s spending spree on Rose, Fournier, Burks, and Noel was an unmitigated disaster. We had what, $60MM in cap space and we turned that into a 37 win season and had to pay in picks to get off those contracts. Theoretically $60MM in cap space should have resulted in multiple first round picks coming our way if used just to take on bad $. I guess in a way you can say we turned $60MM in cap space + some 2nd rounders into Brunson + Rose + Fournier (just delayed by a year in the case of Brunson), but even that is pretty underwhelming.

    Gotta figure there is another move coming, and I hope that move is trading a player whose name rhymes with Schmulius Frandle. I could get behind a starting lineup of Brunson, Grimes, RJ, Obi, and Mitch. Even if Fournier is in there for Grimes it would be semi-fun.

  21. I could get behind a starting lineup of Brunson, Grimes, RJ, Obi, and Mitch. Even if Fournier is in there for Grimes it would be semi-fun.

    100% on this, Frank. I am uncertain how good that team would be, but I would genuinely enjoy watching it. Small lineups where IQ subs in for Mitch would also be entertaining.

  22. I guess I’m a little more sympathetic to trading the 2022 #13 for the MIL 2025 pick because I genuinely liked more players available at #19 in 2021 than I did at #13 in 2022, and at least the MIL pick is nearly guaranteed to be a first. What made the #19 pick fiasco an obvious case of incineration was we very well may have traded it for two seconds, which is completely inexcusable.

    Overall I do agree that coming out of the 2022 draft with a player at #13 and two extra firsts would’ve been close to a best-case scenario and we should’ve done it if possible. FWIW basketball reference still lists the transaction as a three-team trade, but there seems to be some disagreement on that front.

    Deeefense!!: 3. Brunson would not be coming here if he didn’t have faith in the plan and direction of management. It has already been reported the plan was going to be a key issue in his decision. In other words, he wouldn’t have come to a perennial tanker.

    I mean, true or not (we have no idea, he’s leaving a much better team to come here), I support paying Brunson but it’s not exactly anyone’s idea of a Plan A.

    I don’t think Sam Presti is mourning the fact that he missed out on Brunson as he figures out how best to use Chet Holmgren, a player who will almost certainly be better than Brunson for a fraction of the cost.

    The reason it makes sense for us to pay Brunson is because we’ve already decided we don’t want to try to get players as good, or better, than him via the draft. As we saw on draft night when no one wanted our pupu platters, that decision is crippling us badly.

  23. I’ve been trying to think what the Knicks might do with their remaining assets after hopefully getting Brunson. What about making an offer to Malik Monk? Apparently, they like him as a player (see link below), he’s only 24, and the Lakers can’t offer more than the tax payer’ mid level exception of about $6.3M. This foesnt use any first round picks, but it does fit with the Knicks’ plan of getting young players who could get better. If they waive Taj, they might have the cap room to do this.

    https://www.espn.com/nba/story/_/id/33513262/why-malik-monk-too-good-los-angeles-lakers

  24. The team definitely doesn’t make much sense with Julius Randle on it. I mean, making Brunson your highest paid player is a weird move if RJ Barrett and Randle are going to be taking, and mostly missing, half the shots.

    There’s more hope for improvement with RJ as well as more demonstrated willingness to play off the ball, but I’m already having nightmares of Brunson bringing the ball up the floor, dumping it off to Randle, and being relegated to spectator for the rest of the possession.

    We can still trade Randle and Fournier for Westbrook and whatever assets we can squeeze out of the Lakers, and we still should if we can. To be very clear, because people have failed to grasp this in the past: in this scenario Russell Westbrook does not play a game for the New York Knicks.

    Macri has also raised the possibility of sign-and-trading Randle to Dallas, with his logic being that Dallas would rather roll the dice on Randle than lose an essential player in Brunson for literally nothing. He might be wrong but that’s not crazy. Randle for Brunson starting at $26M and ascending + Kleber clears the BYC issues, I think.

  25. I would assume that if Brunson signs, he would have some guarantee as to whether he is playing with or without Julius, which in turn would indicate they have a trade already set up if he is to go.

  26. None of them were lit on fire. Each and every one retained much if not all of its original value.

    None of them were literally lit on fire. As in, Leon Rose did not use matches and gasoline to set a material pick on fire. That was the point.

    The 2020 pick did retain its original value. But that’s not good asset management. It should have increased in value given the time value of assets.

    The 19th pick has lost all its value and really isn’t worth discussing anymore if you can’t see this.

  27. Hubert: The 19th pick has lost all its value and really isn’t worth discussing anymore if you can’t see this.

    I can’t see it because it is not true. It is now owned by ATL who is possibly going to use it as a first round pick in a trade, much as we used it as a first round pick in a trade (do I really have to repost how ATL valued the pick?)

    I mean, I absolutely hated it when the FO traded this extremely likely to convey as a first rounder and very possibly a higher than #19 pick in the next 3 years for Cam Reddish. I would have said the same about it if we did it on 2021 draft night, or if we used a different first rounder for that purpose either before or after, for example this year’s #11 pick. But that is separate and apart from what we got in return for the #19 pick on draft night.

    Anyway, I’ll move on since there is nowhere to go with this that we haven’t already gone. But Alan is usually spot on when he calls for people to cease and desist, and I believe I have done my part in listening to him when he weighs in on matters of decorum. I wish others would do the same.

  28. Just a thought..

    A lot of folks in media and Knicks fandom have been kinda freaking out over Rose’s recent moves. But didn’t we all pretty much know he’d be making these moves with the vets after re-upping with them last season?? The Fournier deal is the same as the Duncan Robinson deal, and Fournier had a better season- so it isn’t a truly bad deal. I think the “freak out” is coming from not knowing the next move. And we really shouldn’t know the next move until it happens, so maybe we should all be patient enough to see the endgame for this offseason

  29. thenoblefacehumper: Macri has also raised the possibility of sign-and-trading Randle to Dallas, with his logic being that Dallas would rather roll the dice on Randle than lose an essential player in Brunson for literally nothing. He might be wrong but that’s not crazy. Randle for Brunson starting at $26M and ascending + Kleber clears the BYC issues, I think.

    It’s an intriguing idea and I have felt for a while that Randle makes a lot of sense in Dallas, where his worst impulses would be mitigated by Doncic’s ball dominance. Hopefully Leon and Cuban feel the same way.

  30. I don’t think a quote from a GM trying to sell a bad trade to a disgruntled fanbase is valid proof that a pick is valuable.

    And even if it did have value, it’s to Atlanta, not us. The New York Knicks had the 19th pick in the draft and they turned it into Cam Reddish, who they are actively trying to unload for free.

    We may not have literally set it on fire, but we literally reduced the value of it to zero, and you’re in Kyrie Irving levels of denial about it.

  31. DRed:
    Looks like we’re going to give mitch 4/60

    That’s quite a bit. I hope he’s worth it.

  32. Hubert:
    I don’t think a quote from a GM trying to sell a bad trade to a disgruntled fanbase is valid proof that a pick is valuable.

    And even if it did have value, it’s to Atlanta, not us. The New York Knicks had the 19th pick in the draft and they turned it into Cam Reddish, who they are actively trying to unload for free.

    We may not have literally set it on fire, but we literally reduced the value of that pick to zero.

    You’re getting into “the sky is actually not blue” territory with this pick.

    It’s impossible to have a rational argument with you woithout condescention or smugness so I won’t bother to respond.

  33. Definitely an overpay for Mitch but considering the position we’re in we have to accept it.

  34. If we did an S&T with Randle for Brunson how would that impact the cap? Wouldn’t that essentially leave us with the $25M+ we would have been using to sign Brunson outright? Please explain. Thanks.

  35. I did not mean to be condescending, so I apologize for that.

    My disdain is for the logic, not for you. A GM’s quote about his own trade is not evidence of anything.

    We had a good pick and now we have nothing of nothing of value. I find this to be self evident and I believe a high degree of wilfulness is required to continue arguing otherwise.

  36. I could get behind a starting lineup of Brunson, Grimes, RJ, Obi, and Mitch. Even if Fournier is in there for Grimes it would be semi-fun.

    If we sign Brunson I think Fournier becomes one of the most important players on the team. I don’t know the exact numbers but Kevin Pelton said:

    “Brunson benefited from the shooting the Mavericks put around him. A majority of his minutes in the regular season came with four capable 3-point shooters spacing the floor, a luxury Brunson won’t enjoy if he signs with the spacing-challenged New York Knicks..

    I think Brunson and Fournier is our best possible backcourt, and RJ is going to have to find his stroke again to hold off Grimes.

  37. Melo’s worst turnover wouldn’t make Randle’s top 20
    from this year.

    Seems Mitch got full value. Maybe not much surplus but I am very happy if he is back.

    I think Brunson may have trouble adjusting to playing on the slowest paced team in the NBA and having to share the ball with RJ and Randle. He is good enough to make it work but I think the transition could be a bit fraught.

  38. Melo’s worst turnover wouldn’t make Randle’s top 20
    from this year.

    Very different if equally hellish experiences. With Melo it was five seconds of hair-pulling, “Just do something! Anything! NO, not that!” With Randle it was like being strapped into a really horrible rollercoaster in slow motion where you knew the track was broken on the loop part but you can’t get out or stop it.

  39. The idea that we could have done this without trading our first rounder doesn’t hold water. DET wanted Duren as the major piece for taking Burks, Noel and Kemba.

    The idea that we shouldn’t have spent 93 million on our FAs is equally moot. We needed a team last year. No one knew Rose and Noel would miss the season. Burks was actually a hero in stepping in at starting PG. (Maybe Kemba was a true mistake)

    If Rose and Noel play, maybe we’re 45-37 as opposed to what happened. Now we have a true ambidextrous PG coming aboard. What Kemba was supposed to do, maybe now happens with Jalen.

    I still like Julius. I’d be willing to roll with him in less of a play makers roll. Fewer assists, fewer TO’s, fewer long twos. But I think he’s probably going to be part of the next move.

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