NBA Trades: 3 'X-factor' moves to transform the Knicks

Mikal Bridges (pictured) versus Philadelphia 76ers
Mikal Bridges (pictured) versus Philadelphia 76ers / G Fiume/GettyImages
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The 'Villanova Knicks'. That was the moniker that carried the city of New York into the postseason. A team that faced the adversity of mid-season trades, injuries, and a season of bringing the Knicks back to relevancy in the Eastern Conference. Even when the Knicks were at a disadvantage, they could find fuel to the fire that carried them to a remarkable season, and ultimately allowed them to find out notable aspects of their roster no one knew. One of those aspects was Jalen Brunson.

The point guard's breakout season came in the midst of an injury-riddled season for Julius Randle. With him sidelined, Brunson finished fifth in Most Valuable Player voting, averaging 29 points, seven assists, and four rebounds per game. A Second-Team All-NBA member, Brunson averaged 32 points, eight assists, and three rebounds per game in 13 postseason games this year. In two postseasons with New York, Brunson's averaging 30 points, seven assists, and four rebounds per game.

While Brunson's extraordinary wizardry gave the Knicks hope until they eventually bowed out in the playoffs to the Indiana Pacers in seven games, Brunson wasn't alone. In the midst of trading RJ Barrett and Immanuel Quickley for OG Anunoby, Donte DiVincenzo became a reliable secondary option for the Knicks, behind Brunson and Julius Randle. The addition of OG Anunoby paid dividends instantly, making the Knicks nearly unbeatable as one of the best defensive teams in the league.

The Knicks frontline also experienced a breakout from Isaiah Hartenstein. A pending free agent, Hartenstein will have a strong market after stepping in to replace Mitchell Robinson after injury. The injury served as a blessing in disguise, as the Knicks unlocked a near-elite level of play with Hartenstein's increased role versus when Mitchell Robinson was garnering a majority of the minutes. Now rumored to get a lucrative contract this offseason, New York may have roster sacrifices to make.

With nearly $28 million in first apron cap space, $38 million in second apron cap space, but over $65 million over the standard salary cap threshold, the Knicks will have some crucial roster decisions to make regarding next season and into the future. Below is an assessment of the various moves New York could make this offseason, in particular, three moves that could help make a title contender.