The Knicks should refuse to move 23-year-old emerging guard

New York Knicks guard Miles McBride (2) takes a three point shot in the first quarter against the Brooklyn Nets at Madison Square Garden
Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

If the New York Knicks hope to retain Isaiah Hartenstein and build one of the NBA’s strongest rosters, they will need to manage their salary cap carefully. Currently, they have committed $172 million towards salary, just below the first apron limit of $178 million. To secure enough financial flexibility, the Knicks aim to reach the second apron at $189.5 million, which would allow them to extend Hartenstein effectively.

Protecting Key Young Talent: The Case for Miles McBride

While there is talk of offloading depth to free up space, one player the Knicks should firmly keep is 23-year-old guard Miles McBride. Despite suggestions to include him in the Mikal Bridges trade for an additional $4.7 million in salary space relief, McBride’s performance last season justifies retaining him.

Last season, McBride averaged 8.3 points, shooting 45.2% from the field and 41% from three, across 68 games, proving his value as a reliable backup and potential starter in case of injuries.

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 Knicks are Working on Salary Moves

Ian Begley of SNY recently pointed out potential moves, including trading McBride or orchestrating sign-and-trade deals for Alec Burks or Precious Achiuwa. However, moving McBride could be a short-sighted decision given his rising trajectory and modest salary of $4.7 million for the 2024-25 season. His .572 effective field goal percentage last season highlights his growing efficiency, making him more valuable than just a salary-clearing piece.

Conversely, while trading Mitchell Robinson could save $14.3 million, the options for Burks and Achiuwa are less appealing. The Knicks declined Achiuwa’s qualifying offer, and there may be limited market interest in Burks as a significant addition.

Mar 31, 2024; New York, New York, USA; New York Knicks center Isaiah Hartenstein (55) shoots the ball while being defended by Oklahoma City Thunder forward Chet Holmgren (7) and Oklahoma City Thunder guard Aaron Wiggins (21) during the second quarter at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: John Jones-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: John Jones-USA TODAY Sports

Future Flexibility and Depth Preservation

Fred Katz of The Athletic noted that while McBride was discussed as part of the Bridges deal, the Knicks recognize his value and are reluctant to part with him merely as a financial adjustment. This cautious approach underlines the Knicks’ intent to maintain depth while also managing their cap strategically.

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