New York Knicks president Leon Rose broke his silence about his team's activities at the 2022 NBA Draft, releasing a statement on social media in the wake of mostly negative reviews toward the Thursday night showing.
The Knicks wound subtracting more names from their roster than adding, trading away their regularly scheduled 11th overall pick (used on French-born forward Ousmane Dieng) to Oklahoma City. They'd later obtain 13th overall pick Jalen Duren from Charlotte but immediately shipped him, along with veteran Kemba Walker, to Detroit, who previously picked up New York target Jaden Ivey at fifth overall. The subsequent yields have provided the Knicks, as Rose wrote in his statement, 22 picks over the next seven drafts, half of them coming in the first round.
Many have speculated that the Knicks used draft night, which eventually begot Duke's Trevor Keels with the 42nd overall pick, to stock up on draft capital and cap space for the coming summer free agency surge (moving Walker's contract saved the Knicks over $9 million). Rose appeared to indirectly confirm such a theory in his statements.
"Last night, we made three trades involving draft picks, which resulted in increased financial flexibility and additional draft capital moving forward," Rose said. "We have the ability to be active in free agency, as well as the trade market. Our focus will remain to be strategic and thoughtful in our team building, doing it the right way while feeding off of the momentum from the end of last season and prioritizing our player development program."
Rose concluded his note by thanking Knicks fans for their "continued support.''
While it appears that there is a plan from Rose and the rest of the front office to make things right in New York, fans' frustration is understandable considering that the Knicks made a commitment to immediately improving this offseason following a disappointing follow-up to a 2021 playoff berth.
Pro-ready talent lingered at the 11th overall slot, but it appears the Knicks have opted to put all their eggs in the baskets of Jalen Brunson, Donovan Mitchell, and other veteran stars expected to search for a change of scenery this summer.
Keels will likely partake in the team's Summer League activities, which will begin July 8 against defending champion Golden State.