Knicks mock trade package sends core depth pieces for Nets superstar forward

NBA: Brooklyn Nets at New York Knicks, mikal bridges, josh hart
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Despite heavy speculation in each of the past two offseasons, the New York Knicks are still holding out to make a massive splash trade for a star player that raises their ceiling. That could change this summer with the franchise now on the brink of finals contention, and they have a surplus of draft capital to deploy in a potential trade.

The Knicks are still heavily linked to Mikal Bridges in trade rumors

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
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 Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

Brooklyn Nets star three-and-D wing Mikal Bridges has been a name linked to the Knicks from seemingly the second the Phoenix Suns traded him to the Nets two seasons ago. Entering this offseason, he has been widely considered to be the Knicks’ biggest trade target, though past history between the two teams would suggest that such a transaction is not highly realistic, as it has been 41 years since the Knicks and Nets last made a trade together.

Bleacher Report this week put out a mock trade for each team currently not in the playoffs, and for the Knicks, their mock trade includes a very heavy haul in exchange for Bridges. The trade proposal reads as follows:

Knicks receive: Mikal Bridges

Nets receive: Deuce McBride, Mitchell Robinson, No. 24 pick, Milwaukee’s 2025 first-round pick (top-four protection), 2025 second-round pick (Brooklyn’s own), 2026 first-round pick, 2027 second-round pick, 2028 first-round pick (top-seven protection)

The Knicks may need to give up a haul of assets to acquire Bridges

May 19, 2024; New York, New York, USA; New York Knicks guard Miles McBride (2) drives to the basket against Indiana Pacers guard T.J. McConnell (9) during the fourth quarter of game seven of the second round of the 2024 NBA playoffs at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
May 19, 2024; New York, New York, USA; New York Knicks guard Miles McBride (2) drives to the basket against Indiana Pacers guard T.J. McConnell (9) during the fourth quarter of game seven of the second round of the 2024 NBA playoffs at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

At first glance, this proposal screams overvalued for a player that has still yet to even make an All-Star team, as the Knicks would be parting ways with two key rotation players and a staggering six draft picks in total, though three of them have protections. This past season, the Knicks were able to acquire OG Anunoby and Bojan Bogdanovic in two separate deals that didn’t involve moving a single first-round pick in either of them. However, the offseason market tends to be more demanding, and the Knicks have to make use of their draft capital at some point.

While losing McBride and Robinson would diminish the team’s depth in the second unit, the Knicks starting five would be one of the best in the NBA since they wouldn’t have to surrender any of their main core pieces (assuming they are also able to re-sign OG Anunoby and Isaiah Hartenstein).

How this trade would affect the Knicks’ lineup:

May 17, 2024; Indianapolis, Indiana, USA; New York Knicks guard Donte DiVincenzo (0) reacts after a made basket during game six of the second round for the 2024 NBA playoffs against the Indiana Pacers at Gainbridge Fieldhouse. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports
May 17, 2024; Indianapolis, Indiana, USA; New York Knicks guard Donte DiVincenzo (0) reacts after a made basket during game six of the second round for the 2024 NBA playoffs against the Indiana Pacers at Gainbridge Fieldhouse. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

If Bridges were to be acquired with this package, Donte DiVincenzo would slide back to the bench with Josh Hart. From there, the Knicks can use their No. 25 and No. 38 picks this year to draft both a backup guard or a backup big to fill in the void left by the departing players. Alternatively, they could use their remaining first-round pick to draft a player to potentially crack the rotation, and trade the second-round pick to acquire an established veteran to carve out the bench unit.

Sending a haul for one player will always have its costs and benefits. For a trade such as the one proposed, it is dependent on how the Knicks value their current rotation pieces as well as the draft picks, and whether or not they feel as though they can be used towards a superstar player. Bridges would be a great fit in New York, but at what cost the Knicks are willing to buy at is what will determine their offseason additions.

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