July 15, 2024

Evaluating your Knicks trade proposals in the offseason: Who says no?


The NBA Draft is less than a week away. Free agency follows. Trade chatter is beginning — and not just among the league’s front offices.

It’s time for the readers to drive the transactions.

I asked you all to submit your best New York Knicks-related trade ideas. Now, let’s scroll through them, break down why they do or don’t make sense and, with a nod to Bill Simmons, ask the famed question: Who says no?

Hawks receive: Bojan Bogdanović, No. 25 pick, No. 38 pick, 2025 Detroit first-round pick

Knicks receive: Bogdan Bogdanović

(Submitted by Roshan P.)

Who says no? Hawks.

It’s every chaotic basketball fan’s dream scenario: Which Bogdanović is which?

There would be logic to this trade, beyond just the surnames. The Knicks are taking calls on their Bogdanović, whose $19 million 2024-25 salary could help land them another helpful player. And the Hawks’ Bogdanović fits a need in New York.

Just as they did leading into February’s trade deadline, the Knicks will scour the market for someone who can run their second unit. The offense cratered this past season when Jalen Brunson was on the bench. They don’t want to live through the same troubles again.

Atlanta’s Bogdanović was a sneaky sixth man of the year candidate last season. He drains 3s, creates off the dribble and, even though he’s hardly a defensive-minded player, could run alongside Miles McBride with the reserves since he can guard wings. But I believe it would take more than just this offer to pry him away from the Hawks.

Bogdan isn’t just productive; he’s also on a friendlier contract than Bojan, earning $17.2 million in 2024-25. His salary declines for each of the two following seasons and ends in a $16 million team option.

That’s the type of deal the Knicks, who love a decreasing contract, would target. But I’m not sure the 25th pick and a second-rounder in what’s considered an underwhelming draft would be enough to land one. The Knicks may need to include a better first-rounder.

If a trade like this were to go down, the Hawks could construct it cleverly. They have a $23 million trade exception set to expire on July 7. They could slide the incoming Bogdanović into the trade exception to create a new one worth $19 million. But as much as the world thirsts for two unrelated namesakes trading places, it may take a hint more than what’s presented above to make it happen.

Nets receive: Bojan Bogdanović, 2025 Knicks first-round pick (unprotected), 2027 Knicks first-round pick (unprotected), 2029 Knicks first-round pick (unprotected), 2031 Knicks first-round pick (unprotected)

Knicks receive: Mikal Bridges

(Submitted by Thomas S.)

Who says no? Nets.

I doubt this is the offer that would convince the Nets to move Bridges.

I’ve already written about their unwillingness to trade him in the past — and then there’s the Nets’ and Knicks’ histories of refusing to make deals together. But let’s use this offer as a catalyst to break down a seldom-discussed “issue” the Knicks have created: Their first-round picks aren’t what they used to be.

The Knicks have banked on their ability to trade for a big-time player, whether it’s Bridges or someone else, because of all the first-round picks they’re able to toss into a deal. And back in the day, an unprotected Knicks first-rounder was like gold. Anyone would want one. But this is a new world, where competence and optimism rule Madison Square Garden.

There’s a reason “issue” was in quotes above. This is a first-world problem, one that occurs only for well-run organizations.

People around the league don’t value the Knicks’ future first-rounders like they did even a couple of years ago. Other executives are too confident in the Knicks’ future to bet on their failure. That 2025 first-rounder may be unprotected in this hypothetical deal for Bridges, but it would most likely fall to the 20s. Even their 2027 first-rounder isn’t nearly as juicy, considering they are armed with reasonable contracts, a core that’s most likely sticking around, other tools to improve on the margins and a front office that’s earned the respect of the rest of the NBA.

These first-rounders aren’t thought of in the same way as the ones they could have traded for, say, Donovan Mitchell a couple of years ago.

Such are the hard knocks of becoming a successful franchise.

Jazz receive: Julius Randle, three first-round picks

Knicks receive: Lauri Markkanen, Jordan Clarkson

(Submitted by Nick L.)

Who says no? Both.

It isn’t easy to decide who wins this trade without knowing the details of the first-round picks. If it’s three unprotected ones in 2027, ’29 and ’31, which it might have to be to get the Jazz’s attention, then this is the Knicks’ big move for a star. And while Markkanen is a deserving All-Star and excels as a cutter and spot-up shooter, an ideal fit alongside Brunson, the Knicks may have their sights set higher than just Markkanen, especially if it means parting with a two-time All-NBA player in Randle.

On top of that, I’d assume the Jazz are more likely to use their cap space to renegotiate and extend Markkanen, who is entering the final season of his contract than they are to trade him.

Knicks receive: Cason Wallace

Thunder receive: Mitchell Robinson

(Submitted by Frosty 2.)

Who says no? Thunder.

I like the idea here: The Thunder just traded for Alex Caruso, another guard who could displace parts of what Wallace does. Meanwhile, Oklahoma City has a rebounding problem, which Robinson would clean up.

But I don’t see the Thunder trading away a second-year player who was more than just an efficient shooter as a rookie. Wallace was one of the most malleable young performers in the NBA this past season. OKC used him as a screener, spacer and cutter. He can defend and, given his current inexperience, is likely to get even better. He’s on a rookie-scale contract for another three seasons and then could have another four or five years of team control after that.

The Thunder are all about elongating their championship window, not necessarily sacrificing long-term success for short-term fixes. Unlike Wallace, Robinson is under contract for only two more seasons.

That’s not the only reason why I don’t see Robinson as a fit in OKC, which could be in the market for the Knicks’ other center, Isaiah Hartenstein, an unrestricted free agent this summer.

There’s a reason Oklahoma City is reportedly into Hartenstein. Its offense isn’t just scattered with shooting; it’s also predicated on quick decision-making, the type of basketball at which Hartenstein excels.

To play for head coach Mark Daigneault, a player needs to understand when to screen, cut, pass and shoot. That’s Hartenstein’s strength. But Robinson doesn’t have the ball or passing skills to shine in that environment.

The Thunder will try to improve their flaws, ones with rebounding and rim protection, and they have the cap space to do it, but they won’t want to compromise their identity in the process.

Kings receive: Mitchell Robinson

Knicks receive: Harrison Barnes

(Submitted by Anonymous.)

Who says no? Kings.

We’re loading up with Robinson trades, which are a possibility, though I’ll add: I would not expect the Knicks to trade away their backup center until they know for certain that Hartenstein is returning. And even then, they could hold onto Robinson, who was in the midst of his best season ever before injuring his ankle in December.

If they were to move him, this is the type of package they could target: A veteran wing on a reasonable contract. Barnes could back up Randle and (presumably) free-agent-to-be OG Anunoby, play 20 to 25 minutes and drain corner 3s.

However, I don’t see why the Kings would do it. Barnes is a starter and popular teammate inked to a reasonable contract (two years, $37 million remaining) on a team with playoff aspirations. If Domantas Sabonis and Myles Turner struggled to gel with the Indiana Pacers, I don’t see Sabonis and Robinson working, considering Turner could at least spread to the perimeter and Robinson occupies the middle of the court, fighting for offensive rebounds or waiting for lobs.

If that’s the case, would Sacramento trade a starting forward for a backup center?

Hawks receive: Second-round pick

Knicks receive: AJ Griffin

(Submitted by Matt.)

Who says no? Knicks.

This is the content that gives us all life.

Is Donovan Mitchell potentially being back on the market? Please.

Sharks swirling around Giannis Antetokounmpo’s situation in Milwaukee? Get out of here.

Give me a Griffin trade that would require one of the most satisfying trade exception usages in recent NBA history or give me nothing.

After the extreme struggles Griffin experienced during his second NBA season, I could see Atlanta moving him for a modest price like this. On top of that, the Hawks, who are due for larger moves than just this one, are pushing up against the luxury tax as currently constructed and could prefer to get off of Griffin’s $3.9 million salary.

But the true beauty of this deal would come in the way both teams could construct it.

The Knicks created a $3.9 million trade exception during the swap they made with the Detroit Pistons this past February. Griffin would slide into it like a baby in a onesie.

But if anyone says no to this, I think it’s New York. The Knicks are pushing up against the first apron and may not want to take a flier on a non-rotation player who makes above the minimum.

(Photo of Bogdan Bogdanović and Bojan Bogdanović: Nathaniel S. Butler / NBAE via Getty Images)



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