The Knicks have discussed moving 23-year-old ‘fireball’ to clear cap space

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
Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Knicks are quickly approaching the $178 million first salary apron, but avoiding it would allow them to spend just above $189 million, opening up salary space to extend Isaiah Hartenstein with a few savvy financial moves.

Could the Knicks Move Miles McBride?

The Knicks are trying to dance around the hard cap, having traded away the 25th overall pick for five second-rounders via the Oklahoma City Thunder. Fred Katz of The Athletic believes the Knicks could consider trading Miles McBride, their 23-year-old value guard— in fact, the team has already discussed it.

“The team discussed the possibility of including Miles McBride in the Bridges trade, according to league sources — and not because they are itching to trade away a 23-year-old fireball on a minuscule contract, only $13 million over the next three seasons. It’s math. If they wanted to, the Knicks could find a third team to route McBride to, acquire a future first-round pick in the process and avoid the first-apron hard cap. His salary plus Bogdanovi?’s would just barely top Bridges’. But they have since shied away from that scenario, a league source said.”

Feb 1, 2024; New York, New York, USA; Indiana Pacers guard Tyrese Haliburton (0) controls the ball against New York Knicks guard Miles McBride (2) during the second quarter at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Assessing Miles McBride’s Role and Potential

McBride is coming off a breakout season, playing 68 games, averaging 8.3 points, 1.5 rebounds, and 1.7 assists. He shot .452 from the field and .410 from three-point range. McBride took significant steps forward with his shooting efficiency but still lacks the ability to be a primary playmaker with the ball in his hands. He can’t be trusted as Jalen Brunson’s primary backup. Nonetheless, he is a quality rotational piece, and the Knicks can’t have enough options like that off the bench, especially given the team’s injury history.

Financial Implications of Trading McBride

However, McBride is set to earn $4.7 million next season on a three-year, $13 million extension he signed last year. This would create a little more room for the front office to work with, but given his low contract, it may be malpractice to move him.

Katz believes netting a future first-rounder in exchange for McBride could be beneficial, allowing them to extend Hartenstein. The ability to net a first-rounder may not be a great return for McBride, who certainly has plenty of value and is only getting better—one of those pieces can help the Knicks now, while the other is a projection.

May 14, 2024; New York, New York, USA; New York Knicks guard Miles McBride (2) reacts after a basket during the first half during game five of the second round for the 2024 NBA playoffs against the Indiana Pacers at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Balancing the Roster with New Acquisitions

With the acquisition of Bridges, Josh Hart, and Donte DiVincenzo are expected to feature as bench pieces, meaning McBride will struggle to get minutes unless injury decimates the team.

The Bigger Picture for Knicks

Of course, it’s always essential to have a deep roster, and moving McBride could become a devastating decision, but if it allows them to keep Hartenstein, it could be a positive at the end of the day. If the front office can find a better financial path, avoiding the first apron and allowing them to spend $189.5 million in team salary space, that would be ideal.

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