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New York Knicks targeting sharpshooting guard in NBA Draft trade

New York Knicks, Chris Duarte
Jan 9, 2021; Salt Lake City, Utah, USA; Oregon Ducks guard Chris Duarte (5) reacts in the second half against the Utah Utes at Jon M. Huntsman Center. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Swinger-USA TODAY Sports

Selecting 19th and 21st overall in the 2021 NBA Draft, the New York Knicks are doing everything possible to move into the lottery.

Up to this point, there was no real concrete information on a target for the up-and-coming organization. Until now.

NBA insider Chad Ford notes that New York is “aggressively” trying to move up for former Oregon guard Chris Duarte.

“Hearing from several sources that the Knicks are aggressively trying to move up into the lottery. Oregon’s Chris Duarte is the target. Charlotte and Indiana the two teams most open to moving down. Just unclear what it will cost the Knicks. 19 & 21, I’m told, isn’t enough,” Ford reported.

This comes amid previous reports that the Golden State Warriors turned down an offer that would have netted them the 19th and 21st selections for the 14th pick.

As for Duarte, it’s hard to imagine him getting past either the Warriors at 14 or Washington Wizards with the 15th selection. For what it’s worth, the Charlotte Hornets are picking 11th with the Indiana Pacers slated to make the 13th selection. Indiana is also actively involved in several different trade scenarios for its first-round pick.

Chris Duarte as a fit for the New York Knicks

new york knicks targeting chris duarte
Mar 28, 2021; Indianapolis, Indiana, USA; Oregon Ducks guard Chris Duarte (5) brings the ball up court against USC Trojans guard Isaiah White (5) during the second half in the Sweet Sixteen of the 2021 NCAA Tournament at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

It might take New York additional draft picks and/or players to move up above Golden State in the lottery. Perhaps, Kevin Knox could be dangled as bait.

With that said, there’s an unquestioned fit here.

The 6-foot-6 Duarte was absolutely tremendous for Oregon last season, averaging 17.1 points and 4.6 rebounds on 42% shooting from distance. With that said, there’s certainly some questions about his upside given that the guard is 24-years-old. Maybe that would work well for a Knicks team that’s looking to contend next season after earning a surprise playoff appearance in 2020-21. That is to say, Duarte is seen as a pro-ready talent.

Specifically, he’d fit in well with stud 2020 first-round pick Immanuel Quickley. The guard exceeded all expectations as a first-year player and is seen as a potential franchise cornerstone moving forward.