Knicks could cap off a perfect off-season by landing Detroit’s elite rebounder

NBA: Detroit Pistons at Philadelphia 76ers, knicks, jalen duren
Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Knicks have already had what many would consider a perfect off-season, securing Mikal Bridges from the Brooklyn Nets and extending OG Anunoby. While bringing back Isaiah Hartenstein would have completed the ideal trio of moves, the Knicks still have the opportunity to make a significant acquisition. Targeting Detroit Pistons center Jalen Duren might be the perfect fit.

Knicks’ Potential Targets and Strategic Moves

The Knicks have been linked with various centers recently, including Alperen Sengun and Walker Kessler. However, the Utah Jazz reportedly declined two first-round picks for Kessler, and Sengun may not actually be available. Despite these setbacks, if Detroit is open to accumulating more draft capital and perhaps a young shooter like Miles McBride, the Knicks should not hesitate to initiate trade negotiations.

NBA: Houston Rockets at Sacramento Kings
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The Value of McBride and Strategic Sacrifices

It’s clear that McBride is extremely valuable; ideally, the Knicks would retain him. However, if trading him means acquiring an elite rebounder like Duren—who could be the final piece in their playoff puzzle—they shouldn’t let McBride hinder a major upgrade. With Josh Hart and Donte DiVincenzo providing depth, McBride’s minutes are likely to decrease significantly.

The Ideal Fit: Jalen Duren

The Knicks need a formidable big man to pair with Mitchell Robinson, and Duren could be the ideal choice. At 6-foot-10 and 250 pounds, the 20-year-old averaged 13.8 points, 11.6 rebounds, and 2.4 assists last season. His durability is proven, having played a minimum of 61 games over two consecutive years, which is crucial given Robinson’s injury history.

NBA: Detroit Pistons at Philadelphia 76ers
Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Evaluating Duren’s Impact and Potential

Duren is not only a solid player, but he is also an elite rebounder with the potential to enhance his playmaking, similar to Hartenstein. He isn’t a perimeter shooter, but his .619 field goal percentage last season and a significant improvement in free-throw accuracy—from 61% to 79%—suggest he has substantial growth potential. Trading Robinson, who has a $14.3 million cap hit, could be an option, or the Knicks could employ a two-man rotation with Duren.

Strategic Considerations and Future Prospects

The big question for the Knicks is whether they are willing to part with the necessary draft picks and player capital to secure a player like Duren. With the Pistons extending Cade Cunningham on a massive deal, they are clearly building a core, and McBride could immediately become a key part of that plan. The Knicks possess two first-round picks next year, but both are lottery-protected, which may limit their value in a trade.

NBA: Detroit Pistons at Philadelphia 76ers
Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

President Leon Rose appears poised to aggressively pursue a center, recognizing the unreliability of Robinson’s health. Whether the choice is Duren or a solid backup who can fulfill a specific role similar to Hartenstein, the Knicks’ front office is aware that they are just one key piece away from completing their roster for a serious playoff run.

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