How the New York Knicks can move up into the top 10 of the 2021 NBA Draft.
With the 2021 NBA Draft coming on July 29, the New York Knicks have been rumored to be interested in moving up. As it stands, the Knicks pick at No. 19 and No. 21, via Dallas as a part of the Kristaps Porzingis trade, in the first round. In the second round, they have picks No. 32 and No. 58.
While it’s great having all of that draft capital, it is not expected that they will use all of those picks. Instead, they will look to package some, if not all, of those picks to move up in the draft. But, which team is the most ideal trade partner?
Enter the New Orleans Pelicans.
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The Pelicans currently have the No. 10 pick. However, they have a few reasons as to why they might trade back. They currently are over the cap and with Lonzo Ball reaching restricted free agency this summer, they have a major decision to make. While they would like to keep Ball on board, they are financially strapped and it’s likely he moves on to another team if he gets a big-money offer. Unloading some of their big contracts might make it more palatable to matching any offer for him, though there’s no guarantee.
If the Pelicans wanted to move a big-money contract to make room for Ball, one player that could be moveable is Steven Adams.
That’s where the Knicks can possibly help.
The New York Knicks could help take on some salary from New Orleans
New York was reportedly interested in Ball at the NBA Trade Deadline. Even though they didn’t pull a trade for him at the deadline, it wouldn’t be surprising if the team revisited that option during the offseason.
The Knicks, who are still building this roster into a long-term competitive team, would love to move into the top 10 of this loaded draft as well. In addition, with their league-leading $50 million-plus in cap space, they would be able to take on one of New Orleans’ unwanted contracts.
What could a potential trade between the two teams look like? Let’s take a look:
Not only does New Orleans get more draft capital to continue building around their franchise player Zion Williamson, but they also get a young, athletic center in Mitchell Robinson who played college ball in Louisiana. They also free up major cap space by trading Adams’ $29 million expiring deal, which would allow them to go shopping this summer for free agents and/or possibly re-sign Ball.
For the Knicks, they move up nine spots and can get a more polished top-tier talent. Players such as James Bouknight, Davion Mitchell, or Corey Kispert most likely would be available for the Knicks at No. 10.
Adams is an established hard-nosed center that would fit perfectly into a Tom Thibodeau orchestrated defense. Also, by getting pick No. 34, they would have two picks at the top of the second round along with their No. 32 pick. When paired together, those picks might be able to get them back in the tail end of the first round.
Leon Rose and company no doubt has a plan laid out. But in terms of which teams to trade up with, New Orleans looks like the best possible option.