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New York Knicks looking to make impact trade during NBA Draft: A look at 4 options

The New York Knicks’ offseason will get going big time next week during the 2021 NBA Draft. Coming off a surprise playoff appearance, they boast three of the top-32 selections in the annual event. That includes the 19th and 21st picks in the first round.

For a while, rumors have suggested that the Knicks might look to package these picks to move up into the lottery. Matt Moore of The Action Network added more fuel to the fire in a recent report quoting five unnamed sources.

“I asked five sources for a team in the first round most likely to move up, and they all said the Knicks. The Knicks have picks No. 19 and 21, along with two second-rounders and an extra top-ten protected pick in 2023 (from Dallas). Multiple sources said there’s a player in the low teens that they have targeted, but no one’s sure who it is,” Moore reported.

There’s also been suggestions that New York Knicks front office head Leon Rose is going to make a play for a superstar in a trade this summer. It’s in this that we look at four options for New York as it attempts to make a splash during the 2021 NBA Draft.

New York Knicks trade up with New Orleans Pelicans

new york knicks trade up for davion mitchell
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
  • Knicks get: 10th pick
  • Pelicans get: 19th and 21st picks, future second-round pick

There’s been rumors flying around in New Orleans that front office head David Griffin is looking to flip the 10th pick for a proven player. The idea here would be to provide a disgruntled Zion Williamson with more veteran talent after yet another disappointing season in the Bayou. In this scenario, the Pelicans add the 21st pick by moving down just nine spots in the first round. They could then package those two picks with at least one of their four second rounders to find said talent.

From New York’s perspective, moving in to the top 10 would be seen as a major win. There’s a chance that former Baylor star Davion Mitchell could be available. The Knicks have also been linked to wing Jalen Johnson from Duke. Heck, the 10th pick is a great asset to flip in a package for another star player.

New York Knicks trade up with Orlando Magic

new york knicks trade up for keon johnson, 2021 nba draft
George Walker IV / Tennessean.com via Imagn Content Services, LLC
  • Knicks get: Eighth pick
  • Magic get: Kevin Knox, 19th pick, 21st pick, future first-round pick

Moving up into the top eight would cost New York a pretty penny. It stands to reason that the top-10 protected pick from the Dallas Mavericks in the 2023 NBA Draft would have to be in the cards here. In turn, Orlando adds even more draft capital with one of the picks it acquired from the Chicago Bulls in the Nikola Vucevic blockbuster. Remember, Orlando just brought in Jamahl Mosley to be its next head coach. He has a strong reputation in the player development department, which could help Knox improve after the former lottery pick struggled in the Big Apple.

Paying a premium price to move up into the top eight wouldn’t necessarily impact New York’s ability to pull off a blockbuster trade. On the contrary. It could either keep said selection or flip it for another star. Among the potential targets, former Tennessee shooting guard Keon Johnson could make sense next to fellow youngster Immanuel Quickley in the backcourt.

New York Knicks trade for Eric Gordon

new york knicks trade for eric gordon
Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports
  • Knicks get: Eric Gordon
  • Rockets get: 21st pick, Kevin Knox

This would be a minor trade in the grand scheme of things, but it would provide New York with a veteran perimeter shooter. It’s an area the team struggled in a season ago. Gordon, 32, is set to count $18.22 million against the cap in 2021-22. Moving off Knox and his $5.85 million salary in return for Gordon would help the Knicks as they look to be active in both free agency and the trade market this summer.

From Houston’s perspective, taking a chance on the 21-year-old Knox could make sense as it looks to expedite what promises to be a long-term rebuild. Adding a fourth first-round selection would give general manger Rafael Stone a ton of options here, too.

New York Knicks trade out of 2021 NBA Draft, add elite player

Damian Lillard trade rumors
Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
  • Knicks get: Damian Lillard
  • Blazers get: R.J. Barrett, Obi Toppin, Kevin Knox, 19th and 21st picks, second-round pick, two future first-round picks, two pick swaps

This is what you’ve been waiting for, Knicks fans. New York is currently the odds-on favorites to land Lillard should the Portland Trail Blazers’ star actually request a trade. And while reports surfaced recently that New York wouldn’t want to part ways with Barrett, it might have to in order for this to work.

Teaming Lillard up with Julius Randle and potentially another max-contract player in free agency could set New York up for title contention in the Eastern Conference moving forward. As for Portland, it picks up two high-upside former lottery picks (Barrett and Toppin) while acquiring four first-round picks and the right to swap two future first-rounders. That would be a win for embattled general manager Neil Olshey if the Blazers have to go into full-scale rebuild mode.

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