New York Knicks: 5 Potential Trades That Could Land Them a First Round Pick
Currently, the Knicks have only six players under contract for next year, along with the easily-resign-able contracts of Landry Fields and Josh Harrellson.
In order to simply have as good a roster as they did last year, the Knicks will need a huge favour from the NBA to be able to afford to bring back both Jeremy Lin and Steve Novak, which at the moment remains in the balance until June 13th.
With the Knicks cap situation as dire as it is, signing quality free agents beyond that will be a real struggle, so one way they can try to upgrade the roster is through this year's deep NBA draft.
Unfortunately, thanks to years of trading picks away, the Knicks currently have only the 48th pick in this years draft, meaning they could miss out on some pretty good first round talent.
New York simply cannot afford to miss out on this opportunity to improve the team and the only option here is for Glen Grunwald and company to try and trade for a first round pick—a tough feat to say the least.
I'm going to take you through five realistic trades that could land the Knicks the first round pick they so dearly need.
Golden State Warriors
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The Golden State Warriors have an abundance of picks in this year's draft, and by the looks of it, they may not actually want to use them all.
According to Rusty Simmons of the San Francisco Chronicle, Warriors GM Bob Myers is unlikely to draft four players in this year's draft, and could instead look to trade some picks.
If the Warriors choose not to bundle their picks for a more valuable player, or indeed a higher draft pick, the Knicks could step in and trade for either the 30th or 35th pick without giving up too much in return.
With Stephen Curry's ankle issues, the Warriors may be willing to part with the 35th pick in exchange for the depth and outside shooting that Toney Douglas could provide, especially since Nate Robinson is going to be an unrestricted free agent this summer.
In fact, the Knicks could even trade Landry Fields instead, because it appears that the Warriors are also in need of a small forward who can be a little more productive than Richard Jefferson.
Though the 35th pick itself is actually a second round pick, the depth of this year's draft could effectively make it a first-round pick if used wisely.
It's of great importance that the Warriors are under the salary cap heading into the offseason, as that's key to making this trade at all possible.
The Knicks won't have much of a better opportunity than this to nab a solid pick in this year's draft.
Portland Trail Blazers
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The Portland Trail Blazers are a team who went from playoff contender to rebuilding before the blink of an eye, and as a result they now have two picks in the top 11 of both the first round and the second round.
The possible trades the Knicks could make to acquire one of the Blazer's four picks really depend on how high they want to draft—a major trade will be needed pick up the 6th or 11th pick, but the 40th or 41st picks could be picked up for much less.
To get one of those top two Portland picks, New York will likely be looking at trading away one of Amar'e Stoudemire, Carmelo Anthony or Tyson Chandler—which, put simply, isn't going to happen very easily, if the Knicks even want that to happen.
Alternatively, the Knicks could trade away Iman Shumpert and Toney Douglas in return for Wesley Mathews and the 11h pick, but Shumpert is likely way too important to Mike Woodson's plans for them to go through with that.
So, as a result, this trade would again involve the Knicks settling with a trade of Toney Douglas, Landry Fields or Jerome Jordan for one or both of the high second round picks—which, it must be reiterated, could be very valuable in this year's deep draft.
The Houston Rockets have two close picks in the 2012 draft, and it might be wise to move one or even both of them for an established NBA player.
As a team without a big name superstar (unless Kyle Lowry is considered to be that type of player), they may try to land one by trading away both together in a package, possibly for the Laker's Pau Gasol, at which point the Knicks would be out of contention to trade for the pick.
But if the Rockets go with the more conservative route of trading away just one of the picks on its own, New York could be in the running.
With Goran Dragic potentially leaving in the offseason, the Rockets could be looking for another back-up point guard, meaning that they could be yet another team interested in a straight up trade for Toney Douglas.
Since the Rockets' picks are relatively high at 14 and 16, the Knicks would potentially have to give up their second round pick and maybe even another player to get the deal done, but it's probably worth it considering how valuable a high pick in this draft is.
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Like the Houston Rockets, the Boston Celtics also have two close together picks in this year's draft, both of which could be moved for veterans.
It all depends on whether or not the C's will blow up the big three and rebuild the franchise when they inevitably lose to the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals.
If Danny Ainge chooses he wants to rebuild, he may well use those draft picks as they are supposed to be used—to pick up young talent.
But if he instead chooses to go on one last run with his aging stars, he may look to move for players who can contribute right away and don't need a season of maturing.
One such player they could utilize in exchange for either the 21st or 22nd pick is Landry Fields, and whilst the Stanford swingman has struggled in a Knick uniform as of late, he could fit back into a "glue guy" role with the Celtics.
Landry could get back into his pre-Carmelo Anthony form with Rajon Rondo alongside him, making him a very useful piece for Boston.
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With Steve Nash looking to depart Phoenix vie free agency, the Suns will be left without a franchise player going into next season, and a sign-and-trade of Jeremy Lin for their 13th overall pick may work out for both sides.
With Nash's contract coming off the books, the Suns will be able to trade for Lin without having to trade away any salary, which also plays into the Knicks' hands.
After the trade, the Knicks would be able to make a run at Steve Nash with the mid-level exception in free agency and draft his back-up and the point guard of the future with the 13th pick.
It would be tough to let Lin go straight up with Nash as his replacement due to their huge age difference, but if the Knicks can acquire the 13th pick along with Nash, they get the best of both worlds—a point guard for the present and a point guard for the future.