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Reports: The Knicks like Trey Lyles and also everybody else

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Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Hi! Let's join hands and take a walk through the last two weeks of Knicks draft preference rumors.

5/19, Chad Ford:

The Knicks will talk trade with everyone & are also big Justise Winslow fans. Not sure they're sold on Mudiay ...

5/20, Ian Begley:

Prior to the NBA draft lottery, some members of the New York Knicks' front office were enamored with Ohio State guard D'Angelo Russell.

The Knicks, like most other lottery teams, watched Russell closely during the season. The club also interviewed Russell in Chicago at the NBA draft combine.

"Some of their guys absolutely love him," one league source with knowledge of the situation said on Monday night.

5/20, Frank Isola:

The consensus among executives, scouts and agents is that Jackson will actively look to deal the fourth pick for a proven veteran.

5/20, Marc Berman:

While Knicks president Phil Jackson isn't married to the fourth pick awarded at Tuesday's draft lottery, the consensus among league executives is he will ultimately hold onto it

5/27, Chad Ford:

I hear that Justise Winslow has some strong support in New York. And two different sources today told me the Knicks are also looking strongly at Willie Cauley-Stein.

5/30, Frank Isola:

While Towns and Willie Cauley-Stein have garnered the most attention, the Knicks for months have been enamored with Trey Lyles, according to a team source. Lyles is a 6-foot-10 forward out of Indianapolis who Phil Jackson ; sees as a good fit for the triangle offense.

So, to recap: The Knicks are big fans of Justise Winslow, who has some strong support in New York. They're also looking strongly at Willie Cauley-Stein. They are enamored with D'Angelo Russell and Trey Lyles. The consensus around the league is that Phil Jackson will try hard to trade the pick, and the consensus around the league is that Phil Jackson will keep the pick.

...

Yeah. We did that because people are rightfully a little fizzy over the idea that the Knicks love Lyles so much -- which isn't just an Isola thing, incidentally. Chris Herring heard that much, much earlier. The Knicks drafting Lyles fourth would be dumbfounding. The Knicks trading down for him would be ... well, I wouldn't like that either.

The point, though, is that someone decided to tell reporters months before the draft that the Knicks really want Trey Lyles, and that person had a reason to do that, just like the person who leaked that they want to trade and the people who leaked that they won't and the person who leaked that they want Justise Winslow and the person who leaked that they want D'Angelo Russell and the person who leaked that they want Willie Cauley-Stein and the people who conspicuously haven't leaked that they want Emmanuel Mudiay (or perhaps leaked that they *don't* want him.)

Draft season shares a deafening noise-to-signal ratio with free agency, only it's even easier to push whichever story you want -- or multiple stories! -- without forfeiting credibility. The Knicks only have one pick to use, so the majority of plausible outcomes won't happen. Watch me:

The Knicks will consider trading the fourth pick, but are enamored with Edith & Wharton University sophomore forward Wiley-Jean Snackwell.

Boom. A rumor! If the Knicks draft Snackwell, I'm a great reporter. If they don't, well, they came to like someone more over the weeks leading up to the June 25. Also, I hedged. Either way, my source -- Snackwell, Snackwell's agent, Snackwell's agent's other client, a member of Knicks personnel who wants Snackwell, a rival executive who wants the Knicks to draft Snackwell, Snackwell's nephew Horvim, or a random person I asked in the Party City parking lot -- got some pro-Snackwell vibes out there. And I risked nothing. Nobody loses.

The Knicks will do something on June 25. There's a decent chance it'll be something someone predicted. That's not because reporters and their sources are nailing it weeks in advance. It's because, by the time the draft rolls around, the sum of rumors will nearly equal the extent of options the Knicks have.