Report: 2 players the New York Knicks refuse to trade away

New York Knicks, RJ Barrett
Mar 11, 2020; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; New York Knicks guard RJ Barrett (9) drives against Atlanta Hawks guard Trae Young (11) in the second quarter at State Farm Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

Under new management, the New York Knicks are looking to make a statement in the 2020 NBA draft. Whether they make a blockbuster move to acquire LaMelo Ball at the top of the draft, the Knicks had unfortunate luck in the lottery, falling all the way to the 8th spot.

They had high hopes of having a top draft pick, but now they are forced to make a difficult decision, which could send away foundational youth players to acquire a top talent.

They do have some tradable pieces, including Julius Randle and point guard Frank Ntilikona. However, there are two players that they would prefer to keep.

ESPN’s Zach Lowe stated that the Knicks are not looking to engage in a trade that would send RJ Barrett or Mitchell Robinson away:

Finding a trade-back scenario that nabs veteran help while reaping appropriate value for the No. 2 pick is difficult. A potential package from the Knicks of No. 8, Kevin Knox II, and two Dallas first-rounders doesn’t get it done, and might not leave enough of the trade exception for another quality player. (New York has been reluctant to discuss RJ Barrett and Mitchell Robinson, sources say.)

Kevin Knox is an interesting piece, considering his inability to develop into the player most thought he would become. Over two seasons in the NBA, he’s averaging 9.9 points, one assist, and a .367 field-goal percentage. Overall, he’s been quite bad on both offense and defense.

The top prospects in the draft remain Ball, Anthony Edwards of Georgia, James Wiseman of Memphis, and Deni Avdija Israel.

There are plenty of talented players to consider in the top 10 picks, but if the Knicks really want an elite player to add to their ranks, they will likely have to move up. If they can keep Barrett and Robinson in the process, they will be in good shape moving forward. They also have plenty of cap space to utilize in free agency.