As the February 8th trade deadline approaches, the New York Knicks are being looked at as one team that could potentially upgrade their roster.
In an ESPN article titled “Six big trades we want to see.”
Bobby Marks had this proposal:
ESPN’s Bobby Marks made a Knicks-Nets Trade Proposal in a new article titled “Six big trades we want to see”— KnicksMuse (@KnicksMuse) January 29, 2024
• Mikal Bridges
• Evan Fournier
• Quentin Grimes
• 5 First-Round Picks (2 Unprotected)
I know what you’re thinking; it sounds like a lot at first glance. In this proposal, the Knicks would give up Evan Fournier (who I assume would be thrilled), Quentin Grimes, and five first-round picks, with two of them being unprotected. There is this stigma around first-round picks that people get very caught up on.
Let's review the picks:
2024: From the Dallas Mavericks, top-10 protected. Dallas is currently seventh in the West and tied with the Pelicans for the 13th-best record in the league. They are making a push toward the playoffs, and this pick will likely be in that 16-20 range. There have been some good selections made in these spots in recent seasons. For a Knicks team looking to win now, bringing in an established player of Bridge’s caliber makes a lot more sense than rolling the dice on a mid-round pick.
2025: From the Milwaukee Bucks, top-4 protected. As long as Giannis and Dame are there, this pick wouldn’t do much.
2025: From the Knicks, unprotected. The Knicks would be off and running, and the potential for this team is great, so I’m not worried about this being a high pick.
2027 and 2029: These picks get a little dicey, but the ultimate goal of the NBA is to build a championship roster. That’s exactly what the Knicks would be doing in this situation. Why worry about a pick five years into the future when you can maximize a window right now?
Julius Randle (29), Josh Hart (28), Jalen Brunson (27), Mikal Bridges (27), OG Anunoby (26), Donte DiVincenzo (26), Isaiah Hartenstein (25), and Mitchell Robinson (25) are all under 30. That core looks pretty good to me and can compete against anyone in the NBA.
Of course, this trade is just a hypothetical that Marks displayed to the public. Bridges came on hot last season after getting traded to the Nets for Kevin Durant. In those 27 games, he averaged 26.1 points, 4.5 rebounds, 2.7 assists, and 1.0 steals on decent shooting. He also had a 30.3 usage percentage, which was by far the highest in his career. This season, in 46 games, he’s averaging 21.9 points, 5.1 rebounds, 3.7 assists, and 1.0 steals. Mikal has looked great at times, and in other moments, he has looked overwhelmed by being relied upon as the number one option. That’s okay, and it shouldn’t shape our opinion of his potential on the Knicks. Bridges can create his own shot and will have those games where he goes off. He would not be brought here to be the number one option, as Jalen Brunson has flawlessly shown he embraces that role.
If any opposing team has to go up against a lineup consisting of Jalen Brunson, Josh Hart, Mikal Bridges, OG Anunoby, and Julius Randle, good luck. Bridges and OG on the wings is a dream that I hope to wake up one day and see as a reality. The Knicks have already improved massively since trading for Anunoby; adding another player with his length and size would not be fun for opposing teams.
The six-foot-six Bridges has a seven-foot-one wingspan and is the quintessential player that coach Tom Thibodeau would love. We’ve already seen how much he plays OG and how much he loves Josh Hart. Mikal Bridges fits the same mold. Bridges is under contract for two more years before becoming a UFA in 2026.
Going back to what I said earlier, people love to coddle first-round draft picks. We are talking about picks that likely wouldn’t even be in the lottery. Jalen Brunson, Julius Randle, and OG Anunoby are here now, in the present
I think I’ll be okay chasing after a championship in the present rather than worrying about a seventh-grader picking his nose in math class right now who will be 18 in five years and a potential 2029 first-round draft pick. Embrace what we have right now and go all in. Don’t think about what the Knicks would be losing; be hopeful for what they are gaining in this.
Bridges is another Villanova guy who is best friends with Brunson, Hart, and DiVincenzo. Chemistry matters, and we are seeing that game-to-game with these guys. DiVincenzo is having a career year, and it’s not a coincidence that someone who has had trouble finding his footing looks comfortable next to his close friends. Those guys had great success in college, and they are having success once again on the highest level. Trading for Bridges is a no-brainer, championship-maximizing move.
Brooklyn could use a bit of a reset, and it would be smart for them to accumulate some draft capital.
The biggest question is: Will the Nets be able to swallow their pride and pull the trigger?