Knicks Trade Rumors: NY in Talks to Package No. 19, 21 Picks to Move Up in NBA Draft

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured Columnist IVJuly 25, 2021

CHICAGO, IL - JUNE 24: Head Coach Tom Thibodeau, President Leon Rose, and General Manager Scott Perry of the New York Knicks look on during the 2021 NBA Draft Combine on June 24, 2021 at the Wintrust Arena in Chicago, Illinois. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2021 NBAE (Photo by Jeff Haynes/NBAE via Getty Images)
Jeff Haynes/NBAE via Getty Images

The New York Knicks are heading for an important offseason. 

Fresh off of ending a seven-year playoff drought, the Knicks have cap space and draft assets as they look to improve the roster around Julius Randle and RJ Barrett. And according to Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium, the Knicks "are having discussions to try to trade picks Nos. 19 and 21 to move up in the draft, sources said."

Charania added that the Knicks were "eying" Oregon guard Chris Duarte. 

The Knicks will head into the 2021-22 season with Randle, Barrett, Kevin Knox, Obi Toppin, Luca Vildoza (non-guaranteed contract), Immanuel Quickley, Mitchell Robinson and Norvel Pelle under contract. Take away the $2.7 million cap hold for the No. 19 overall pick and the $2.5 million cap hold at No. 21, per Spotrac.com, and the Knicks should have around $57 million in cap space heading into free agency. 

Some of that will go to retaining players from last season, with Derrick Rose, Nerlens Noel, Alec Burks, Reggie Bullock and Elfrid Payton all candidates to be retained at the right price. But the Knicks will likely dip into the higher end of free agency, hoping to woo players like Kawhi Leonard, Chris Paul, Kyle Lowry or DeMar DeRozan, among others, to New York. 

Leonard and Paul seem like long shots. Charania reported that the Philadelphia 76ers, Los Angeles Lakers, Dallas Mavericks, Miami Heat and New Orleans Pelicans were expected to be the top suitors for Lowry. 

But perhaps the Knicks could use their financial flexibility to absorb a superstar's contract into their cap space via trade while trying to sign a player like DeRozan. Uncertainty lingers around Damian Lillard's status in Portland. Both B/R's Jake Fischer and Shams have reported that Washington's Bradley Beal is mulling his future options and considering a trade request.

The Knicks have the young players and draft capital—surely they would happily part with the Nos. 19 and 21 picks as part of a trade package for Lillard or Beal—to enter their name in such a sweepstakes. And moving up in the draft could simply be an effort to obtain a more enticing pick to dangle in those potential trade talks. 

As for team needs, adding a young point guard or talented, two-way wings would make sense for the Knicks if they end up making a selection, or selections, in the first round. Playmaking and perimeter shooting should be prioritized.

Players like Duarte, Corey Kispert, Davion Mitchell, Ziaire Williams, Trey Murphy III, Tre Mann, Jared Butler, Jaden Springer, Miles McBride, Sharife Cooper and Cameron Thomas, among others, are names to keep in mind.