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Knicks could trade pair of 2024 NBA Draft picks to signal star-hunting summer

Kristian Winfield, New York Daily News on

Published in Basketball

NEW YORK — One way or another, the New York Knicks are going to have to do something with their draft picks.

The Knicks have a pair of first-round picks in the upcoming 2024 NBA Draft: their own at pick No. 25, and pick No. 24, acquired as part of the Kristaps Porzingis trade with the Dallas Mavericks.

What the front office does with those picks — and when Knicks management makes a move — will be indicative of the direction the organization will move in after a successful season securing the Eastern Conference’s No. 2 seed ended with a second-round loss to the Indiana Pacers for a Knicks team missing several key rotation players in its postseason run.

The Knicks, after all, finished the second round without All-Star forward Julius Randle (shoulder surgery), starting center Mitchell Robinson (ankle surgery), sixth man Bojan Bogdanovic (ankle surgery) and starting forward OG Anunoby (strained hamstring), who only played in Games 1 and 2 against the Pacers before sitting Games 3 through 6 and all but the opening five minutes of Game 7.

Now the focus shifts to improving the roster for a deeper, more fruitful playoff run next season.

And this is not a team looking to build around rookie talent.

 

Rather this is a Knicks team with a core already proven capable of winning at a high level.

Which is one of a number of reasons why picks Nos. 24 and 25 are likely to be on the move, because draft assets are most valuable before they are converted into rookie players on draft night, and the Knicks have two assets they can use as they go star-hunting this offseason.

All of the Knicks core rotation players except two are under contract for next season: Isaiah Hartenstein, who will enter unrestricted free agency, and Anunoby, who is expected to decline the $19.9 million player option on his contract and secure a pay raise this summer. Precious Achiuwa will also become a restricted free agent this summer.

Anunoby is expected to re-sign in New York — after all, the Knicks would not have traded both RJ Barrett and Immanuel Quickley for a half-season rental — which means the Knicks project to have the core group of Jalen Brunson, Josh Hart, Donte DiVincenzo and Miles McBride, as well as the injured Randle, Robinson, Bogdanovic and Anunoby on the roster entering the offseason.

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