BS Meter for Latest 2022 NBA Draft Rumors: Will NY Knicks Go All-In for Jaden Ivey?
Welcome to crunch time for the NBA rumor mill—also known as "DRAFT WEEK, BABY!"
Chatter is reaching a fever pitch leading into Thursday night's prospect pageant. There seems to be a handle on how the top three will play out, but after that, it's anarchy.
Will the Sacramento Kings keep the No. 4 pick? Is Jaden Ivey the no-brainer selection if they do? Could the New York Knicks somehow broker their way into the top four?
This is but a tease of the scuttlebutt dominating the discourse. And to parse through the gossip, we'll turn to our trusty ol' B.S. meter.
As always, our interpretation of these rumors is not meant to dismiss the actual reporting. Our B.S. meter is instead designed to gauge what we should expect to come from each tidbit—if anything.
Only top-of-the-line rumors related specifically to the draft are presented here. You can thank me for offering you a reprieve from the Kyrie Irving news cycle later.
John Collins on the Move THIS Week?
During an appearance on SportsCenter, ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski made it seem like the Atlanta Hawks have already moved John Collins.
"[The Hawks are] as motivated as any team in the league to make a significant deal or deals to improve their team, try to find a co-star for Trae Young," he said (h/t Evan Sidery of BasketballNews.com). "I think it's very likely John Collins is going to be a part of any of those deals. I think he's very likely on the move somewhere this week as they try to do something big in Atlanta."
Bleacher Report's Jake Fischer noted Collins is the "most likely trade candidate among impact veterans around the league" and that there's "mutual interest to find him a new destination." Speaking on The Athletic NBA Show (24:58 mark), Sam Amick said the Hawks "have been tied to Jerami Grant" and the Kings "for the No. 4 pick in a deal that would likely involve Harrison Barnes, as well." Fischer, meanwhile, reported recent talks between Sacramento and Atlanta "have not included" the fourth selection.
Like I said before: Anarchy!
At this point, a Collins trade seems a fait accompli. This isn't just "where there's smoke, there's fire" reporting. This is an inferno of intel—a matter of where and when rather than if.
Sacramento's prominence in the Collins rumor mill should render it the front-runner. But surrendering the fourth pick doesn't make sense. Collins' offensive game is incredibly scalable—and, frankly, underrated. But his defensive warts are real, and they'll likely be exacerbated in any frontcourt partnership with Domantas Sabonis.
Something built around Barnes feels more apropos. The Hawks need combo forwards, among other things, who won't torpedo their defense. Barnes fits that bill, and his offense is extremely plug-and-play while also including more floor creation than Collins' skill set.
Other teams can and should enter the fold. Again: Collins is good. But it would be a little awkward for the Hawks to accept a package founded primarily around draft equity. Though that type of framework would trim their cap sheet, a team with Young is obligated to assume a more immediate view. Dealing Collins just for the sake of moving him (or increasing wiggle room beneath the luxury tax) would make zero sense.
Regardless, even if it isn't the Kings, even if it isn't this week, the Hawks and Collins are speeding toward a divorce.
B .S. Meter: Expect Collins to be on the move by the end of draft night.
New Orleans Angling for Bennedict Mathurin or Dyson Daniels?
If the New Orleans Pelicans cannot get Bennedict Mathurin or Dyson Daniels at No. 8, they're reportedly open to moving down the draft ladder, per Fischer. I dig it.
Targeting wings who can diversify the Pelicans' lineup packages in anticipation of Zion Williamson's return next season is the way to go, and either Mathurin or Daniels would do just that. Mathurin is the cleaner fit as someone who can provide more shooting off motion, but the 6'8" do-everything Daniels is no slouch. His passing and defense will have an impact right away.
Granted, the Pelicans may not be choosing between the two. They might not have access to either. Bleacher Report's Jonathan Wasserman has Mathurin off the board before No. 8 in his latest mock. The Athletic's Sam Vecenie has both gone by that point.
Ousmane Dieng would be a worthwhile alternative if New Orleans' preferred options are off the board. Keegan Murray would be, too—though most mocks have him being selected in the top seven, as well.
Moving down would have clear advantages in that scenario. The Pelicans would not only ever so slightly cut the cost of their incoming rookie-scale contract, but they could pick up another pick or prospect to use in subsequent transactions or even expand the deal to include a player more inclined to make an instant dent. And there are a handful of teams with multiple first-round picks (San Antonio, Houston, Memphis) or a cachet of future picks (Oklahoma City) that could be inclined to try jumping up.
B.S. Meter: Brace for New Orleans to move down if Mathurin, Daniels and Murray are gone by No. 8.
Memphis Attempting to Move into the Teens?
Armed with two first-round picks, at No. 22 and No. 29, the Memphis Grizzlies are prime candidates to move up the draft board. And it turns out that's exactly what they're reportedly trying to do.
Memphis is dangling No. 22 and De'Anthony Melton in an attempt to enter the "teens," according to SI.com's Jeremy Woo. This is a view that would be so Grizzlies.
They just finished with the second-best record in the Western Conference, which has many calling for them to target more urgent acquisitions. So, naturally, they're going to reinvest in the draft-and-develop route.
You'll catch no qualms from this blogperson. The Grizzlies have accelerated their own timeline by drafting extremely well and finding value on the margins. Climbing into the teens of this class is right in their wheelhouse.
Whether Melton can get them much higher is a different story. He is a ferocious defender who has honed his long-range shot over the past couple of years, and we all know three-and-D archetypes have immense value. Melton's contract is also beyond team-friendly. He's owed $8.3 million next season and guaranteed just $1.5 million of his $8 million salary in 2023-24.
Maybe the Charlotte Hornets would accept No. 22 and Melton for No. 15 since they also have No. 13. Or perhaps the Houston Rockets will see an opportunity to scoop up Melton while moving back. Looking at the draft order, though, it feels like the Grizzlies will need to glitz up the No. 22-plus-Melton offer just a smidge to enter post-lottery territory.
B.S. Meter: Bank on the Grizzlies attempting to move up. Doubt that they'll do so while giving up only No. 22 and Melton.
Is Jaden Ivey a Future Knick?
Trading up to No. 4 for Jaden Ivey has apparently become a priority for the Knicks. As SNY's Ian Begley wrote:
"As of this moment (mid-morning on Tuesday), I believe that the Knicks can get up to No. 4 to select Jaden Ivey.
"It would take a significant price. People in touch with Sacramento say that in the club’s conversations with New York, the Knicks have talked about offering multiple first-round picks in a package for the No. 4 pick. I don’t know which players were offered, but it wasn’t enough to lock a deal in. ...
"For the Knicks, I think it will come down to whether they are willing to part with one of their homegrown young players (Immanuel Quickley, Obi Toppin, Quentin Grimes) in addition to multiple picks."
Buy the hell out of this idea for the Knicks. This is the swing you make when you're wandering through the NBA's boondocks of mediocrity. You don't mortgage your future to clear enough cap space to sign Jalen Brunson. You certainly don't hitch your wagon, in any way, to Kyrie Irving. You do what you've ostensibly never done: go after the potentially transcendent floor general who doesn't accelerate or impede your timeline but actively defines it.
Reconciling this report is tougher from the Kings' perspective. They are, by all appearances, bent on ending a playoff drought that dates to 2006. If they're going to move No. 4 in service of that postseason lust, you'd expect it to be for players who guarantee more of an immediate impact.
New York isn't teeming with those assets. Alec Burks, Evan Fournier, Julius Randle, etc., don't move the needle nearly enough, and taking Quickley, Toppin or Grimes is more big-picture. Perhaps the Knicks are offering so many additional picks it doesn't matter. They have all their own first-rounders moving forward, in addition to the Dallas Mavericks' 2023 selection.
If the Kings are in love with someone who could still be around at No. 11 and don't want to pair Ivey with De'Aaron Fox, there's something here. Tacking on another two firsts and one of the Knicks' higher-end kids would adequately outfit them to pursue another move. Still, the level of assets New York is reportedly offering makes this feel a little hodgepodgey for Sacramento.
B.S. Meter: The Knicks are smitten with Ivey. The Kings should not be as enamored with their best offers to move up.
Will Sacramento Move No. 4?
It isn't only the Knicks who are trying to pry the No. 4 pick out of Sacramento. The Indiana Pacers, San Antonio Spurs and Washington Wizards have all been linked to the Kings' top selection, according to Fischer.
Sheer volume of interest doesn't necessarily increase the chances the Kings will trade out of what's deemed "The Jaden Ivey Spot." But the redundancy of having both Ivey and De'Aaron Fox, plus Davion Mitchell, does juice up the Anything's Possible Factor—as does the Kings' presumed desperation to rejoin the playoff discussion.
Sacramento can always keep the pick and take someone else, such as Keegan Murray or Bennedict Mathurin. It can also just take Ivey anyway. His off-ball offense has real flexibility to it. The Kings can make the Fox-or-Ivey decision later, insofar as they even need to choose between the two.
Everything depends on what's being presented to Sacramento. A deal with Indiana seems easier to work since it would entail dipping just two spots. Compensation from San Antonio (No. 9) or New York (No. 11) would have to be greater.
To be honest, this outcome airs on the side of a coin toss—a situation that'll be resolved moments before the No. 4 pick is made. Because the Kings are so often a walking contradiction and have designs on immediate success, and because I'm a sucker for adventure, let's tilt toward their moving out of the spot.
B.S. Meter: Sacramento is at least 50-50 to deal No. 4 under the circumstances.
Are the Knicks and Wizards Willing to Trade a Lotto Pick for Malcolm Brogdon?
Somewhat obscured within the bombshell Kyrie Irving report from The Athletic's Shams Charania was a nod toward the Knicks' continued interest in acquiring Malcolm Brogdon from the Pacers. ESPN's Brian Windhorst also reported on NBA Today that Brogdon could land with the Wizards "possibly for that 10th pick, possibly for not."
This is not surprising. Both the Knicks and Wizards need lead guard depth, and Marc Stein reported in April that the Pacers had made it clear they would jettison Brogdon in the offseason.
And yet forking over a lottery pick for the 29-year-old would be a big ask. Brogdon hasn't missed fewer than 16 games in a season since he was a rookie and is owed $67.6 million over the next three years. His offensive game has broadened beyond the catch-and-shoot, pump-and-drive game that defined his value with the Milwaukee Bucks, but he's not a conventional initiator or someone who has proved he can knock down off-the-dribble looks at high clips.
Deals can expand to include more assets that render New York's or Washington's side of the transaction more palatable. Failing that, it'd be a shock if Indiana bagged a lottery pick for Brogdon alone.
B.S. Meter: Neither the Knicks nor Wizards should pony up a lottery pick for just Brogdon.
Charlotte to Use 1 First-Rounder in a Gordon Hayward Dump?
Faced with financing a new contract for restricted free agent Miles Bridges, the Hornets are "looking to trade one of their first-round picks alongside Gordon Hayward to clear cap space," according to Windhorst (h/t Sidery).
Let's make one thing abundantly, unassailably clear: The Hornets do not need to clear payroll to re-sign Bridges (or fellow restricted free agent Cody Martin). They can simply just re-sign Bridges, because they have the right to match any offer he receives.
If they're unwilling to flirt with the tax or outright enter it while keeping him, then that's another thing entirely. But this idea that teams need to move off contracts who afford incumbent players on whom they have full Bird rights is inaccurate and muuuuch too sympathetic to franchise governor pockets (in this case Michael Jordan).
Anyway, the Hornets are a little over $13 million under the tax while accounting for the cap holds of Bridges and Martin. That wiggle room will be wiped out if Bridges' commands a max deal starting at $30.5 million. Charlotte could look to offload smaller salaries (like Mason Plumlee), but dumping Hayward's $30.1 million cap hit opens more possibilities while also freeing up additional runway outside the tax ahead of the 2023 offseason.
Offering No. 13 or No. 15 alone doesn't feel like it'll get the job done. Hayward remains an incredibly useful player, specifically as a secondary creator and scorer, but has struggled to stay on the floor. Teams won't be lining up to foot the bill on the $61.6 million he's owed through the next two years.
Charlotte's options should open up considerably if it's only looking to acquire another sizable-but-slightly-cheaper contract. Would the Cleveland Cavaliers consider a Kevin Love-for-Hayward swap? Does that framework even require a first-round pick?
The Hornets could also look to take on a coupling of cheaper deals that aren't expiring. A team like the Knicks is suited for that kind of deal. Los Angeles Lakers fans will propose a Russell Westbrook trade, but the Hornets must want to include Terry Rozier on top of Hayward to realize any immediate savings—and they would be negligible.
B.S. Meter: The Hornets will use at least one first-round pick to move Hayward before next season.