Should Knicks Trade Up To Draft Jaden Ivey Amid Rumors Surrounding No. 4 Pick?

Maurice Bobb@@ReeseReportFeatured Columnist IJune 20, 2022

Purdue's Jaden Ivey during the first half of a second-round NCAA college basketball tournament game against Texas Sunday, March 20, 2022, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)
AP Photo/Morry Gash

For the New York Knicks, the 2022 NBA draft is something that they can't afford to get wrong.

With that in mind, their current No. 11 pick isn't good enough or rather not "safe" enough, so they're doing what they can to move up in the draft.

But even if they're able to do it, who would they select?

According to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, the player that the Knicks and a few other teams have their sights set on is Jaden Ivey.

"That No. 4 pick that the Sacramento Kings hold is very much in play. There are a lot of teams trying to get deals done with Sacramento so they can move up to select Jaden Ivey," Wojnarowski said. "That’s teams close to them in the lottery who are five and six [the Pistons and Pacers], the New York Knicks at No. 11, Washington Wizards at No. 10, and even some teams outside of the lottery."

The NBA Insider also mentioned that the Kings know that there's a significant drop-off in this year's draft after Ivey is taken following the top players on the board—like Auburn's Jabari Smith, Gonzaga's Chet Holmgren and Duke's Paolo Banchero—so their asking price for the pick could create a bit of a bidding war.

"Sacramento’s asking price to move in there is going to be significant. They see this as essentially a four-player draft," Wojnarowski added. "Their GM, Monte McNair, you can expect him to be on the phone this week. Jaden Ivey is certainly a point guard that several teams in the league in the lottery and out who'd like to get at him. They've already talked to Sacramento, they'll continue to do that next week."

Last season, the 6'4" point guard averaged 17.3 points, 4.9 rebounds and 3.1 assists for Purdue and helped them make it all the way to the Sweet 16 in the NCAA Tournament before losing to Saint Peters, who was on an incredible Cinderella run in the tourney.

Ivey has elite athleticism and speed but is mostly known for his ability to attack the rim and score the ball from deep.

During his sophomore campaign, he shot 35.8 percent from beyond the arc, which makes analysts believe his game will translate at the next level and give him the ability to help any team that needs a point guard.

With the ageing of Derrick Rose, the decline of Kemba Walker and the inconsistency of Immanuel Quickley in New York's corps of floor generals, they are definitely one of those teams.

But if Ivey has so much upside, why would Sacramento want to pass on him?

In this case, it's not so much that California's state capitol's favorite team doesn't want him, it's that he doesn't want them.

According to ESPN's Jonathan Givony, the Kings aren’t Ivey’s preferred destination, so it's easy to see why McNair might be taking the "if you don't want me, I don't want you" approach with the former Boilermaker.

Sacramento also has a lot invested in point guard De' Aaron Fox, and it inexplicably traded away "next in line" playcaller Tyrese Haliburton during his second year in the league.

Haliburton went on to play for the Indiana Pacers, where he's flourishing as the starting member of their backcourt, averaging 17.5 points and 9.6 assists for the team last season.

Considering how the Kings dealt with Haliburton, there's no way of predicting how they'll handle the No. 4 pick leading up to the draft.

But one thing's for certain, the Knicks are keen on making a deal if the price is right.