Two outcomes have seemed likely for the Knicks with the No. 3 overall pick since the lottery a couple of weeks ago: draft R.J. Barrett (or Jarrett Culver), or trade the pick in a package for Anthony Davis (or some other star).
Looks like we have a new wrinkle to add to this situation. According to ESPN’s Jonathan Givony, the Knicks are at least entertaining the idea of trading back with Atlanta for the Nos. 8 and 10 picks in the draft:
New York has explored the possibility of trading back in the lottery, sources told ESPN, perhaps to acquire pieces that better complement potential high-volume All-Star free agents (such as Kevin Durant or Kyrie Irving). Trading the No. 3 pick for the Atlanta Hawks’ two first-rounders (Nos. 8 and 10) is under consideration by the Knicks, one source said. This is a similar package to the one Dallas used to move up in last year’s draft -- trading the No. 5 pick and a top-five protected pick (which ended up being No. 10) to select Luka Doncic at No. 3. A move like this likely wouldn’t happen until the draft was actually underway, as both teams would want to know which players are actually available with the No. 8 pick before consummating a trade.
So, a few things to consider here — first, this package is not similar to the one that Dallas used to move up with Atlanta last year, as Givony said. Last year’s draft was historically stacked, and the Hawks still walked away with a guy with All-Star potential. On top of that, had that Dallas pick not conveyed at 10 this year, it would have been unprotected next year.
It should be noted, though, that just because the Knicks are talking about getting back both of the Hawks’ picks, it doesn’t necessarily mean that that would be all they got back. The Hawks also have three second-round picks this year and a couple of heavily-protected first rounders from the Cavs and the Thunder in the next few years that could be a part of this package and make it a little more congruent with the Dallas package a year ago.
Second, the part about the Knicks wanting to get players that would better complement high-volume players like Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant does kind of make sense. A guy like Barrett, at his best, profiles as a top option at the next level. Maybe the Knicks think picks 8 and 10 can better address their needs with a couple of All-Stars incoming.
It’s also worth noting that, either for due diligence or because they’re actually looking closely at this trade back scenario, the Knicks have been keeping tabs on a lot of guys in the 8-10 range:
In addition, the Knicks are looking closely at other draft prospects who might be in play at No. 3 but could also very well fall later in the top 10, including Cam Reddish, Jarrett Culver, Coby White and Nassir Little.
Some under-appreciated genius of a blogger suggested during last week’s P&T roundtable that the Knicks should maybe entertain trading back with the Hawks and take a long look at Brandon Clarke, so maybe his name will come up at some point as well.
At any rate, this could all just be smoke, but it’s good to see that the Knicks are exploring all options, if nothing else. Certainly a far cry from the days when the team President was allegedly sleeping through prospect workouts.