The Knicks did something smart?
In 2006, a Canadian man made headlines by taking a single red paperclip and, over the course of one year and 14 trades, turning it into a house in Saskatchewan. Over the past several years, the Knicks have made the sort of moves more akin to starting with a house and ending up with a paperclip, but draft day was different.
New York made the first trade of the day at around 9 a.m., swapping pick No. 27 (acquired from the Clippers in February as part of a three-team deal built around Marcus Morris) and No. 38 for Utah’s pick at No. 23. It seemed like a weird move at the time—what reason is there to move up four spots at the back end of the first round before you even know who’s going to be available there?—but the Knicks didn’t end up holding onto that pick. They subsequently traded the 23rd pick for the 25th and 33rd, taking Kentucky’s Immanuel Quickley with the first of those picks.
That’s pretty sly! By trading twice, the Knicks moved up two spots at the end of the first round and five spots at the top of the second round without giving up anything. There were no players or future picks involved in the deals. They just took two picks, traded them for one higher pick and traded that pick for two lower picks that were still higher than the original two.
But, because this is the Knicks, things didn’t go exactly according to plan. They had acquired pick No. 33 with the intention of selecting Duke’s Vernon Carey Jr., but the Hornets swooped in and took him at 32. The Knicks apparently had no interest in rostering a player other than Carey, because they took Minnesota big man Daniel Oturu and promptly traded him to the Clippers for a 2023 second-round pick that was originally Detroit’s.
Even though the Knicks didn’t get their man with the 33rd pick and it’s not a guarantee that the Pistons’ 2023 second-rounder will be as high as No. 33, it still ends up being a good series of moves for them. They were able to move up slightly with their second first-round pick and gain some future flexibility when the original plan for the second-rounder fell through. Imagine that—the Knicks resembling a competent basketball team.
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