The New York Knicks are hungry to add more young talent and with rumors of the Portland Trail Blazers making draft picks available, could the Knickerbockers get in on the action?
The New York Knicks enter the 2017 NBA Draft with the eighth overall pick as their lone first round selection. The team could get lucky and pick some gems in the second round, but the lure of picking additional time in the first round may tip the scale in management making some trades.
Sporting News is reporting that the Knicks are among a few teams in the league pitching for first round picks from the Portland Trail Blazers. Due to the Blazers having contract commitments to 12 players already on the roster, including recently well paid players such as Evan Turner and Allen Crabbe, the team is not in a position to bring on more young players.
Portland owns the 15th, 20th and 26th picks in this draft. New York could trade down for the three picks, though the report notes the Knicks would prefer to keep their No. 8 selection and trade for a combination of one and a player from the Blazers.
A name that has surfaced in rumored trade talks, according to ESPN‘s Ian Begley is forward Moe Harkless. The Queens, New York native played his college ball at St. John’s University, making him no stranger to playing his home games at Madison Square Garden. Harkless is coming off of a career year starting at small forward, averaging 10 points and 4.4 assists per game while showing plenty of improvement in his fifth season.
Looking down the Knicks’ current roster of players under contract, there are several options to assist in their acquisition of one or multiple first round picks from Portland.
A trade combination involving current Knicks role players and the draft picks could shape out with New York parting ways with swingman Lance Thomas or center Kyle O’Quinn and the No. 8 pick for all three first round picks. This deal opens up space for all three picks to play right away in an obvious full rebuild.
The other option that would possibly help to keep the coveted No. 8 pick would include a future array of first round picks. Portland can clear cap space with the Knicks taking on the contract of Harkless if it’s a dire situation financially.
The Blazers are still hoping to build a champion, so Carmelo Anthony is still a realistic option in exchange for Harkless, Allen Crabbe and one of the three first round picks. In order to help with the contract, New York would need to take on players such as Shabazz Napier to even out the money.
The Blazers have nearly $133 million in guaranteed contracts on their books for the 2017-18 season, leading to the possible speculation of aggressive trades during the draft. In a conversation with NBA TV during last month’s NBA Draft Combine, Blazers general manager Neil Olshey discussed his ideas for the picks.
“All of our players are under long-term contracts, or we control their rights, So we are building long-term. The end game is to hopefully win a championship in Portland. If we can accelerate that process because we’ve got the three picks in a very deep draft, where these picks are coveted and we can get a player on a timeline from a team that is maybe going in another direction, we will absolutely push our chips in and do that.”
It will be an interesting couple of weeks leading up to the draft as players’ names will be thrown around until a deal is reached. For the Knicks’ sake, it would be wise to take advantage of these talks and promptly attain pieces to rebuild the franchise.