The Knicks crushed the 2024 NBA Draft with savvy financial moves

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament South Regional-NC State vs Marquette, knicks
Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

The Knicks are working diligently to avoid the first salary apron of $178 million, aiming instead to utilize up to $189.5 million at the second apron. The Mikal Bridges trade has complicated their financial situation slightly, but the Knicks are still finding ways to free up small amounts of money in various places to create a more significant collective impact.

The Knicks’ Strategic Trades and Salary Management

They could add a few pieces to the Bridges deal to offload salary since Bojan Bogdanovic’s contract doesn’t align perfectly with their financial strategy. However, trading Bogdanovic did clear $17 million from their books.

The 2024 NBA draft also offered the Knicks a chance to prepare for the future while managing their finances by trading one of their first-round selections to the Oklahoma City Thunder in exchange for five future second-round picks. This move avoids the immediate financial commitment of another first-round pick’s salary, saving a few million dollars.

Jan 23, 2024; Brooklyn, New York, USA; Brooklyn Nets forward Mikal Bridges (1) talks to New York Knicks forward OG Anunoby (8) during the first quarter at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Draft Picks with Potential and Immediate Impact

However, the Knicks did select Pacome Dadiet, a French guard playing in the German league. At 18 years old, Dadiet boasts a tremendous jump shot and is a quality off-ball scorer. While he needs to enhance his ball handling and overall game, he shows great potential, and the Knicks are keen on stashing him for the long term.

Tyler Kolek: A Promising Addition

The standout pick of their class was Tyler Kolek from Marquette. Standing 6’1″ and weighing 197 pounds, Kolek was the 2022–23 Big East Player of the Year and is a two-time All-Big East player. Over three seasons at Marquette, Kolek showed consistent improvement. This past season, he averaged 15.3 points, 4.9 rebounds, 7.7 assists, and shot .496 from the field and .388 from three-point range. His solid spot-up shooting and scoring from the perimeter are impressive, but it’s his playmaking that truly stands out.

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Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Last season, the Knicks relied on Miles McBride as the primary backup to Jalen Brunson. While McBride is a solid defender and shooter, his ball-moving capabilities were underwhelming. Kolek, known as an assist maestro, will capitalize on the talent on the roster, helping to offset Brunson’s ball-handling duties when he’s off the floor. Given that he is slightly older, Kolek should be able to make an immediate impact off the bench, albeit sparingly.

Looking Ahead: Financial Flexibility and Roster Decisions

The Knicks managed to secure one of their top-rated players in the second round and a young, promising talent in Dadiet. They also traded one of the first-round picks to open up financial flexibility.

Many would argue that the Knicks had one of the best weeks in the NBA with the acquisition of Bridges, the extension of OG Anunoby, and several astute draft decisions. The next step is extending Isaiah Hartenstein, which will require them to be at the second apron. This could mean trading Mitchell Robinson and his $14.3 million salary for the 2024–25 season to make the finances work.

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