Grading the Knicks’ busy 2024 offseason so far

Jan 23, 2024; Brooklyn, New York, USA; Brooklyn Nets forward Mikal Bridges (1) talks to New York Knicks forward OG Anunoby (8) during the first quarter at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Coming off of a season in which the New York Knicks won 50 regular season games, and advanced to the second round of the playoffs for the second year in a row, the team is looking to maximize its potential for next season with a good offseason.

Trades, draft picks, free agency signings, and some key departures have told the story for the Knicks so far. Here’s a look at how each of the Knicks transactions has graded out so far.

Knicks swing a deal for Mikal Bridges in blockbuster trade with crosstown rival

Knicks, Mikal Bridges
Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Villanova Knicks are officially complete. On June 25th, the Brooklyn Nets agreed to trade F Mikal Bridges to the Knicks in a stunning blockbuster deal. Bridges now joins his former college teammates Jalen Brunson, Donte DiVincenzo, and Josh Hart in New York.

While still not finalized, the price the Knicks will be paying for Bridges is steep, including five first-round picks, F Bojan Bogdanovic, and an additional asset that has yet to be determined. Nonetheless, Bridges presents a perfect fit for the Knicks, giving the team another primary scoring option next to Jalen Brunson and Julius Randle, while also providing the team with superb defense from the wing positions. Grade: A

Knicks re-sign OG Anunoby to lucrative contract

May 2, 2024; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; New York Knicks forward OG Anunoby (8) looks on from the bench during a timeout in the first half against the Philadelphia 76ers in game six of the first round for the 2024 NBA playoffs at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

After trading for OG Anunoby last December, his impact had a profound effect on the culture, and ceiling of the team. In the immediate aftermath of the trade, the Knicks rattled off blowout victories against multiple title contenders, including the Philadelphia 76ers, Minnesota Timberwolves, Miami Heat, and the reigning champion Denver Nuggets, establishing themselves as a force to be reckoned with in the Eastern Conference.

Overall, the Knicks went 20-3 in the 23 regular season games Anunoby appeared in, and ranked amongst the league’s best offenses and defenses with Anunoby on the court. After the season, bringing back the two-way standout wing became the Knicks’ top priority heading into the offseason.

On June 26th, the Knicks and Anunoby reached an agreement on a five-year, $212 million deal. The pairing of Mikal Bridges and OG Anunoby gives the Knicks two of the best two-way wing players in the entire NBA, and helps the Knicks remain one of the more dangerous Eastern Conference teams.

The main concern with the signing is Anunoby’s extensive injury history. The 26-year-old has battled numerous injuries throughout his career, and also had his fair share of injury hiccups during his time with the Knicks last season. A $212 million investment can be risky for the Knicks given his past injuries, but if Anunoby can manage to stay healthy when it matters, he’ll be worth every penny for the franchise. Grade: A-

New York adds four new players in 2024 NBA Draft

NBA: Draft, knicks, Pacome Dadiet
Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The Knicks walked into the 2024 NBA Draft with three selections, they walked out with four new additions. In the draft the Knicks selected F Pacome Dadiet (25th overall), G Tyler Kolek (34th overall) F Kevin McCullar Jr. (56th overall) and C Ariel Hukporti (58th overall).

Kolek and McCullar Jr. are potential draft steals for the Knicks, as both players fell well below their expected draft range. Dadiet, who spent last season playing professionally in Germany, figures to be a draft-and-stash option for the Knicks. The forward from France is only 18 years old and presents an intriguing skill set that could develop well over time. Lastly, Hukporti is a monstrous, 7-foot, 245-pound big man who is known for his rebounding prowess and high motor. He projects to be a backup or third-string center for the Knicks early on and will have to make a good impression for more playing time.

Of all their selections, Kolek figures to be in play for the most minutes right away, given the Knicks’ need for playmaking off the bench. However, all of the Knicks’ picks could give the team substantial value in the near future. Grade: A-

Knicks lose Isaiah Hartenstein to Oklahoma City Thunder

May 19, 2024; New York, New York, USA; New York Knicks center Isaiah Hartenstein (55) reacts during the third quarter of game seven of the second round of the 2024 NBA playoffs against the Indiana Pacers at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Despite a valiant effort to bring him back, C Isaiah Hartenstein departs from the Knicks, signing a three-year, $87 million deal with the Oklahoma City Thunder, leaving the Knicks with a massive hole to fill at the center position.

The maximum offer the Knicks could give to Hartenstein was a four-year, $72 million deal. The trade for Mikal Bridges only made it harder for the Knicks to retain Hartenstein. He departs after two highly impactful seasons with the Knicks, earning himself a massive payday with the Thunder.

While upsetting for Knicks fans, it simply wasn’t feasible for the Knicks, who are already paying C Mitchell Robinson $15 million annually, to pay Hartenstein the nearly $30 million annually that he will be making in Oklahoma City. With Hartenstein gone, Mitchell Robinson will take back his spot in the starting lineup, and the Knicks will have to figure out a way to address their backup center situation, which as of today, they still haven’t done. Grade: D+

Final Grade for the Knicks’ Busy Offseason (So Far):

While the Knicks certainly aren’t done, they still have made improvements to their roster this offseason, and will enter next season as a title contender, and Eastern Conference heavyweight. Overall grade: A-

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