The NBA draft is fast approaching, June 20th to be exact. The Knicks have the 3rd overall pick this year as we all know. RJ Barrett has been a name thrown around as likely to be drafted. But will the Knicks actually stay at 3rd?

Trade Down?

There has been some talk about the Knicks exploring a possible trade back. However, it seems like a lot of this is more of due diligence by the club. Any and every team should evaluate what all of their options are.

This morning, a report came out suggesting the Knicks were looking to trade back with the Hawks. Atlanta would take the 3rd pick and the Knicks would get the Hawks picks at 8 and 10. A lot of this just seems like smoke, which Ian Begley of SNY noted, saying that there were no current conversations about this. The front office is making sure they are aware of all their options.

What could be some potential trade down options?

Hawks’ Picks

The current rumor would give the Knicks the 8th and 10th picks of the draft. These would be more ammo in a potential Bradley Beal trade but overall this doesn’t really make sense. Trading away the 3rd pick would likely take the Knicks out of the Anthony Davis talks. The Pelicans would want that 3rd pick to pair Zion Williamson with his close friend, RJ Barrett. A trade back in this case would indicate that the Knicks have no intentions of pursuing Anthony Davis.

It’s also important to remember that this could have also been a rumor started on the side of the Hawks and their writers. In order to create a market for your picks, you have to make them seem like sought after assets. This is a top-heavy draft, where the top 3 picks carry the most weight. After the 3rd pick, there is a heavy drop in elite talent. Now, great players are always found much later but a lot of stars come from the top 3 picks typically. This year is no different with Williamson, Ja Morant, and RJ Barrett taking the top 3 spots. The Hawks picks at 8 and 10 really wouldn’t make sense for the Knicks. Even if no big free agents come, you would want to have the best possible pick with the highest ceiling. That’s RJ Barrett. Even in the event of a potential trade, you would still value the 3rd pick of this draft much higher than 8 and 10.

Overall, this option really doesn’t make sense for the Knicks. While trading back isn’t a bad idea, this far back doesn’t seem like a reasonable trade for New York. Atlanta would certainly be better off in this situation.

Trade Back With Cavs

Many reports have Cleveland being absolutely in love with RJ Barrett as a player. And by most accounts, their franchise believes they have the assets to pursue a trade up. Now should this be a move the Knicks make? We saw this last year with Dallas and Atlanta swapping, with Dallas moving up to select Luka Doncic. The Hawks got the Mavericks 1st round pick this year due to that trade. It’s safe to assume that the Knicks could get a similar return from the Cavs. The Knicks dropping back a couple of spots would put them in range to get a player like Cam Reddish. While he largely underachieved at Duke, he has all the talent and measurables in the world. Would gaining an extra pick for next season be worth it for the Knicks? It’s hard to say but in this scenario at least the Knicks would get a player with a high ceiling in Reddish.

This trade would also likely take the Knicks out of the running for an AD trade. This scenario is also unlikely unless the Cavs offer something that the Knicks can’t refuse. The Cavs don’t seem to have assets of that nature unless the Knicks are enamored with Kevin Love, which is doubtful.

Staying Put

The Knicks will most likely just stay in place for the draft. Now what may happen with that pick in July is a whole different story. But there isn’t a scenario that has presented itself that makes sense for the Knicks to this point. There’s still 3 weeks until the draft so things can change but for now, it looks like the Knicks will continue to meet with prospects and then choose the best fit. For now, that looks like RJ Barrett but come draft night there could be a surprise in store.

Until then, hopefully, things stay quiet on the Knicks side of things. No drama for this summer so far and it’s nice to not be an incompetent franchise. As long as the front office continues doing its due diligence and sticking with the plan, the franchise will have a great summer.

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