Knicks Trade for Jazz's No. 23 Pick Ahead of 2020 NBA Draft

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistNovember 18, 2020

Minnesota Timberwolves head coach Tom Thibodeau calls out from the bench during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Phoenix Suns, Saturday, Dec. 15, 2018, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ralph Freso)
Ralph Freso/Associated Press

The New York Knicks are moving up a few spots in the back half of the first round in the 2020 NBA draft.

The Knicks traded the Nos. 27 and 38 selections to the Utah Jazz in order to acquire the No. 23 pick and the draft rights to Ante Tomic. Tomic, 33, has yet to play in the NBA after being a second-round pick in 2008. 

ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski first reported the deal.

The deal is a bit odd in that the pool of players available to the Knicks at No. 23 probably won't be significantly different than at No. 27.

Even if the front office has a specific prospect or two in mind, this doesn't offer much in the way of guarantees since Wednesday's draft is hours away. It's the kind of trade a general manager usually makes in the middle of the event.

That leads to a question over whether general manager Scott Perry and team president Leon Rose have something else in store.

Keith Smith @KeithSmithNBA

I wonder if the Knicks are doing something with 8 and 23. Usually teams move up on draft night when they have a player targeted. Curious that this move will happen now.

Jake @jakeweingarten

The Knicks could use both picks and move into the first five selections and pick, hm, maybe Auburn’s Isaac Okoro? Tom Thibodeau has reportedly loved him throughout the process. Okoro told me in 2018: “I’m the best defender in the country.”

New York also has the eighth overall pick. Packaging that along with No. 23 could be the foundation for a jump into the top five. 

The New York Post's Marc Berman reported the Knicks were content to trade back from No. 8 if LaMelo Ball or James Wiseman weren't on the board. Perhaps the franchise has shifted gears to become more aggressive in strengthening the odds of one of those two still being there.