Should the Knicks execute 2-for-1 deal to move up in 2024 NBA Draft?

Kyshawn George, Knicks
Bob Donnan-USA TODAY SportsCredit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Knicks may have a chance to move just outside of the 2024 NBA Draft lottery, but the trade it would take to get them there will cost them some serious change.

Bleacher Report’s NBA Staff formulated a mock trade where the Knicks offer their No. 24 and No. 25 overall picks to the Miami Heat in exchange for the No. 15 pick, saying this about the hypothetical deal (h/t Jeremy Brener of Fan Nation’s All Knicks):

“The Knicks may need to be smitten with a fringe-lottery prospect to push the “Let’s do it!” button. Then again, with Isaiah Hartenstein (Early Bird) and OG Anunoby (player option) heading for free agency, they will have various tax implications of their own to navigate. (Bojan Bogdanovic’s partially guaranteed deal is a defining offseason factor for them.) Consolidating Nos. 24 and 25 into No. 15 saves them a bit of money while conceptually increasing the quality of the rookie they house,” Bleacher Report wrote.

Who could the Knicks look at with the No. 15 pick in the 2024 NBA Draft?

Johnny Furphy, Knicks
May 12, 2024; Chicago, IL, USA; Kansas’ Johnny Furphy NBA at the Draft Lottery at McCormick Place West. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY SportsCredit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

The trade was made in the Heat’s favor but has bearings for the Knicks as well. The 2024 NBA Draft class is not as strong or top-heavy as previous years, though many heavily-touted players litter the projections for the first round. The Knicks moving up to No. 15 would position them to choose from a handful of mid-round projected prospects like Dalton Knecht (Tennessee), Kel’el Ware (Indiana), and Kyshawn George (Miami).

Knecht is a high-octane scorer at forward while Ware fits the Knicks’ mold and then some as a 7-0 rim-protecting center that can help them hold down the interior, having averaged 15.9 points, 9.9 rebounds, 1.9 blocks, and 42.5 percent shooting from distance in 2023-24. George, 6-7, is a long and athletic forward with a sweet and confident stroke from long range (40.8 percent) and a knack for playing on-ball defense (0.9 steals per game).

Ware and George in particular would make the most sense for New York, who could lose several key contributors at both center and forward in free agency and the trade market. Ware has an NBA-ready frame and can add an element to the Knicks’ frontcourt that they haven’t had in years. George also showed the ability to make plays in the half-court with the ball in his hands, set up his big with timely lob passes, and finish over tough defense. He’d be ideal selection with major upside at No. 15.

Is it worth it for the Knicks to move up nine spots?

However, the uncertainty of the 2024 class could see either, or both fall to the latter portion of the first round. If the Knicks want to avoid crossing their fingers on draft night, sending their pair of picks to Heat president Pat Riley for pick No. 15 could be advantageous.

Moreso, if the Knicks want to address their backup point guard void, they could opt to move even higher to increase their chances of selecting international star Nikola Topic toward the end of the lottery. There will be talent to sift through at their current spots, but a move-up has its share of perks.

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