Knicks could make huge championship-level trade for rising star this summer

Brooklyn Nets forward Mikal Bridges (1) looks to drive past New York Knicks guard Jalen Brunson (11) in the first quarter at Madison Square Garden
Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Knicks are linked to a budding star that could be the final piece to their championship puzzle. Brooklyn Nets franchise player Mikal Bridges is rumored to be a prime target for the Knicks to chase in the trade market. The Nets acquired him at last year’s NBA trade deadline in a blockbuster deal that sent Kevin Durant to the Phoenix Suns.

While Bridges has seen his game mature as a No. 1 option in Brooklyn, the Nets have underachieved considering the wealth of young talent they have on their roster and the drop-off they’ve seen from last year’s regular season finish.

Could the Knicks complete a Villanova reunion by trading for Nets star Mikal Bridges?

Talks have increasingly surfaced about the Knicks bringing the Villanova product on board next to three of his former collegiate teammates in Jalen Brunson, Josh Hart, and Donte DiVincenzo. The chemistry between the four would be undeniable. The problem is, the chemistry between the Knicks and Nets front offices is a supposed problem.

Back in January, former Nets brass Bobby Marks declared that a deal between both franchises would never take shape. He cited a 1983 trade as being the last deal done between both parties, per Jordanna Clarke of Daily Knicks.

“Bridges to New York is not going to happen. If you want proof, rewind the clock back to 1983. That was the last time the Knicks and Nets made a trade. (The Knicks sent a 1984 second-round pick to the Nets for Len Elmore.) During my 20-year tenure in New Jersey, there were no trade conversations between the two teams,” Marks said.

Recent events suggest that the Knicks and Nets could settle differences in a potential Bridges trade

Despite what could be tensions between the organizations, we’ve seen the Knicks soften up to two parties they had prior beef with.

The Knicks sued the Toronto Raptors earlier in the year after their former video coordinator Ike Azotam allegedly leaked proprietary information to the Raptors. They wound up executing a trade that sent OG Anunoby, Precious Achiuwa, and Malachi Flynn to New York in exchange for RJ Barrett and Immanuel Quickley later in the season.

Knicks president Leon Rose also had a longstanding feud with Klutch Sports agent and former CAA colleague Rich Paul that was put to bed earlier this year.

What’s the likelihood of a Bridges trade and what would it mean for the Knicks’ title hopes?

Additionally, several media projections have envisioned what a Knicks trade for Bridges would mean for their championship hopes moving forward.

The 27-year-old has already proven that he can be a top-shelf scorer in the NBA. He averaged 26.1 points in 27 games for the Nets in the 2022-23 campaign. While his numbers (to the exception of his 3.7 assists per game) are a bit down this year, there’s little doubt that Bridges could arguably be the best third option on a championship team and as high as a No. 2 weapon next to 2024 All-Star Jalen Brunson.

Bridges is under contract until 2025-26. He’ll make a combined $48.2 million in the next two seasons combined. If the Knicks were to acquire him, it would likely require moving a hoard of their future first-rounders in conjunction with several key rotational pieces.

In a perfect world where the Nets could retain Brunson, Anunoby, and Julius Randle while adding Bridges, the quartet would be one of the most imposing two-way units in the league. No official word has recently been revealed on Bridges’ satisfaction with the Nets or lack thereof, but if he for any reason were to seek a trade, the Knicks would be wise to chase after him.

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