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NBA Draft Media Roundup: Do the Knicks have eyes for Jaden Ivey?

The drama builds as Draft Night approaches.

NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament - Sweet 16 - Philadelphia Photo by Scott Taetsch/NCAA Photos via Getty Images

Many NBA Draft pundits predict that Jaden Ivey (6’4”, 200 lbs) of Purdue will be this year’s fourth pick — in fact, DraftKings currently has Ivey at -220 to get picked fourth overall. That fourth spot currently held by the Sacramento Kings. However, Jonathan Givony of ESPN.com reports, “The Kings aren’t Ivey’s preferred destination.”

No kidding! The only guy I remember being happy about going to Sacramento was Tyrese Haliburton…and we saw what Sactown did to him.

In his sophomore season, Ivey averaged 17.3 points, 4.9 boards, and 3.1 dimes on 46% from the field and 36% from deep (a big improvement from 26% the previous year).

His reputation is buoyed by a boatload of accolades: 2020-21 Big Ten All-Freshman - 1st Team, 2021-22 All-Big Ten - 1st Team, 2021-22 Consensus All-America - 2nd Team, 2021-22 Wooden Award - Late Season, 2021-22 Wooden Award - Midseason, 2021-22 Wooden Award - National Ballot, 2021-22 Wooden Award - Preseason, and 2022 All-Big Ten Tournament.

At last check, Ivey was tied for the fourth-best odds to be chosen first overall at +10000. According to Ian Begley, the New York Knicks, who hold the 11th pick, are at least monitoring where the speedy combo guard might land on Draft Night.

“Members of the organization have sought information on which teams have strong interest in Ivey. So, at the very least, they have interest in where Ivey may go,” wrote Begley in his June 15 article for SNY.TV.

Trading up for the 20-year-old Ivey is a long shot, and yet again Knicks fans are being set up for an emotional crash. Might New York be able to leapfrog its way to the fourth? That’s possible, sure, but the cost of assets and picks required to facilitate such a move seems beyond what any prudent front office should be willing to spend.

Plus, wheeling and dealing up the draft board feels like even more of a pipe dream given that other teams are interested in moving up for him, too. Alder Almo has reported that the OKC Thunder have emerged as a rival to trade-up for Ivey.

Will competition pressure the Knicks’ brass into a rash decision? “It’s an open secret that the Knicks covet Ivey after using one of their 20 interview slots at the NBA Draft Combine and being front and center in his Pro Day,” wrote Almo. “Add the fact that Ivey is a Creative Artists Agency client. Ivey shares the same agent (CAA’s Austin Brown) with Knicks former lottery pick Obi Toppin.”

On Wednesday, Zach Braziller of the NY Post continued the theme when he predicted: “Needing to make a backcourt splash, [Knicks President] Leon Rose bites the bullet, and trades one of his best young assets, understanding it is the only way to get to the desired No. 4 spot in the draft.”

Braziller wrote that such a deal would cost “this year’s first pick, Obi Toppin and multiple second-rounders go to the Kings.”

Nope. No. Nah. A trade like that would get Leon Rose & Co. tarred and feathered on the streets of Manhattan, at least according to my circle of Knicks fans. And could we really do that to our beloved Obi, our delightful dunker? Banish him to Sacramento?

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