Written by Nicholas McGowan
Acquiring those Draft Picks
The New York Knicks are not going to be a contender next year to win a championship, they probably will not be a good team either, for those reasons the Knicks’ plan moving forward is to rebuild next year. With a first round draft pick paired with tons of money to spend in free agency, the Knicks have an opportunity this year to further help their cause in 2015. Phil Jackson recently spoke about buying a draft pick, how high that draft pick will be is still yet to be determined, but adding a young player to this roster will help. The Knicks do not draft as bad as believed, we just trade away our picks every year. Iman Shumpert and Tim Hardaway Jr. have been great first round pickups, Toure Murray is drawing interest from the Bulls, Warriors, and the Nets. Let us not also forget that the Knicks found Jeremy Lin and made him into a 3 year 25 million dollar man. Adding a young player would be great. This young player has the potential to be a factor in our rebuilding process next year. Let us take a look at where the Knicks might be able to acquire a draft round pick, for both straight up cash considerations and for perhaps trading a player for a pick.
Darryl Morey the Houston Rockets general manager, recently on ESPN radio compared this years draft to that of 2003 and 2005. The draft at the top is similar to that of 2003 yet the depth is more comparable to 2005. Looking at the 2003, 2005, and the drafts of the past 5 years, we can perhaps find out where Knicks might be able to pick.
Pick 43 traded for cash
Pick 51 traded for cash
Pick 55 traded for two future second round picks and cash
Pick 57 traded for cash
Pick 29 for future second round pick and cash
Pick 32 for cash
Pick 34 for cash
Pick 42 for future second round pick and cash
Pick 54 for cash
Pick 57 for cash
Pick 25 for cash
Pick 29 for cash
Pick 44 for cash
Pick 50 for conditional future second round pick and cash
Pick 39 for cash
Pick 45 for cash
Pick 36 for cash
Pick 41 for cash
Pick 54 for cash
Pick 55 for cash
Pick 40 for cash
Pick 53 for cash
I did leave a large number of trades that involved cash out, for the reason that these trades listed are the most feasible for the Knicks. The trades I left out involved several assets. These assets included future draft picks, lower round draft picks in the same year, and players.
Assets are something the Knicks do not have and if Phil is not willing to give up a second round pick. Yet if look at all of the picks that were traded for strictly cash, there are a lot of positive signs. We could trade up as high 25 based off of the past, yet if Darryl Morey’s comparison to the 2005 draft is accurate, the Knicks might only be able to trade for pick 57 or lower. Some good and bad signs yet it is entirely possible we trade for a high second round pick.
In guessing where we end up, let us take a look at the draft order. In the first round of the draft there are 4 opportunities to make a trade. The first opportunity arises at pick 25 where the Houston Rockets are trying to do everything in their power to make cap room for a third max free agent. If the Rockets are willing to decline the option of Chandler Parsons they are willing to trade this pick. Parsons is very good player and he only carries a cap hit of 900k. The second opportunity is two picks later at number 27. The Phoenix Suns were reportedly in talks to land Pau Gasol during the season and with two other first round picks. The Suns might also want to clear cap space to lure a top free agent. The L.A. Clippers and the Oklahoma City Thunder are somewhat wild cards. The Thunder and the Clippers both might want to go after some lower tier free agents and might feel that those free agents would help the team more than a rookie. The Clippers pick at 28, the Thunder pick at 29.
With several contending teams having second round picks, they might not want the small cap hit that comes with that cap number. The Mavericks who have picks at 34 and 51 should be looking to unload those picks. They traded down from 13 to 18 last year to avoid the small cap hit. First trading 13 for 16 and a pair of future second round picks and then trading 16 for 18. In the deal for pick 16 for pick 18 the Mavericks unloaded guard Jared Cunningham and the 44th Chicago Bulls who historically do not like to go over the tax line have a little less breathing room now that Joakim Noah’s cap hit just increased by 500k. They might to be looking to trade pick number 49. The Philadelphia 76ers have draft picks at 32, 39, 47, 52, and 54. They will probably try to trade up packaging a few of those picks together, if they have any second round picks left then the Knicks should be able to buy one from them. The Milwaukee Bucks have picks at 31, 36, and 48. The Minnesota Timberwolves have picks at 40, 44, and 53. Lower trade possibilities arise at 55 with the Miami Heat, the Pacers at pick 57, and the Spurs at both 58 and 60. If Phil is willing to deal with the Nuggets then picks 41 and 56 could be bought. As you can see there are tons of opportunities to make a trade for cash only.
Phil Jackson supposedly told Raymond Felton to expect a trade, trading him for a pick would be ideal but I cannot see any team take on his 3.8 million dollar salary. Who would really give up a draft pick for Felton? There are several teams who might want to deal their high first round pick. Maybe the 76ers would take Hardaway Jr. or Shumpert for 1oth overall pick. Or maybe the Charlotte Hornets at 9 would trade for Hardaway Jr. or Shumpert. Some interesting trade scenarios towards the top of the draft but I do not expect Phil to trade for high pick.
This draft has tons of depth, many good college players will be available in the second round/late first round. Expect Phil to buy a second round pick, I would think and hope earlier in the second round but we will see on June 26th.