The New York Knicks had two 3-and-D style players in mind in the 2021 NBA draft. With the front office targeting Oregon guard Chris Duarte, the Knicks found themselves between a rock and a hard place. Trying to move up in the draft, they failed to execute with a partner, settling for their second-tier option, Houston stand-out Quentin Grimes.
However, despite missing out on Duarte, the Knicks were still looking to acquire his services after the draft finished.
According to the Indy Star, the Knicks were in hot pursuit of Chris Duarte even after the draft concluded:
Long after the NBA Draft concluded Thursday, there were exchanges between the Pacers, Golden State Warriors and New York Knicks for the 6-6 forward.
Clearly, they see Duarte as a potential star player, having averaged 17.1 points, 2.7 assists, 1.9 steals, and shot 53% from the field last season. His most impressive statistic, though, was his 42% success rate from three, averaging 5.5 attempts per game.
He is the exact fit for Tom Thibodeau and his defensive style with the addition of offensive scoring. Grimes offers something very similar, but they saw more potential with the Oregon product.
Knicks land forward Aamir Simms out of Clemson:
The Knicks landed Aamir Simms as an undrafted free agent after the draft ended on Thursday.
Undrafted Clemson F Aamir Simms has agreed to a a deal with the Knicks, source tells ESPN.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) July 30, 2021
Last season with Clemson, Simms posted 13.4 points, 6.4 rebounds, and shot 53% from the field. He is a solid forward with potential. He will likely develop behind the scenes and potentially with the Westchester Knicks.
The Knicks saved themselves even more, cash to allocate during free agency:
A flurry of trades in the first round contributed in multiple ways for New York, adding both draft capital for the future and saving money. The Knicks traded the 19th overall selection to the Charlotte Hornets for a future conditional first-round pick and then traded back with the Los Angeles Clippers, offering the 21st pick in exchange for the 25th and a future second-rounder.
This move had impressive implications, as the Knicks saved about $2 million they can reallocate toward a potential free agent. They have big plans for this August, as the market is littered with talent. Expect to see a few FA pickups and the signing of a veteran point guard to help West Virginia draft pick Miles McBride develop his game. Bringing back Derrick Rose could be a priority.