Knicks Draft Watch: Warriors eye Devin Vassell in potential trade down

New York Knicks, Devin Vassell

It’s no secret that the Golden State Warriors are studying all options, including trading, with regards to their No. 2 pick. The question is will the New York Knicks field an offer to trade up?

San Francisco Chronicle recently reported that Florida State University’s Devin Vassell is on the Warriors’ radar should they trade down.

According to multiple league sources, the Warriors believe Vassell is the top wing defender in this draft and would strongly consider him if they trade back to the 5-10 range. There is an outside chance that Golden State could even take him at No. 2 if it doesn’t receive an enticing offer to move down.

Considered as one of the top two wings in this Draft Class along with Auburn’s Isaac Okoro, Vassell is all over the Draft Boards. He is projected to be selected anywhere from No. 6-12 range.

Vassell could add bench depth for the Warriors who are expected to have the Splash Brothers— Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson— back at full health next season. Vassell has drawn Thompson’s comparisons.

“People like to identify a player in college with a player in the pros. And I always said I thought he was more like Klay Thompson,” FSU coach Leonard Hamilton said in an interview with SB Nation’s Golden State of Mind.

Hamilton cited Thompson’s 41.2 percent three-point clip as a freshman in Washington State while his prized wingman, Vassell, shot 42 percent from deep in his two seasons with the Seminoles.

“And he has a lot of those qualities where he knows the ball is supposed to go going to the basket. He’s extremely confident, he always anxious to take big shots. One of the aspects of his game, I probably didn’t utilize as much as his ability to create his own shot. When we needed him to create his own shot, he was able to go and make fall away fades and step-back jumpers and things that are going to allow him to be even more effective at the next level. He is a shotmaker, there’s no doubt about that,” Hamilton added.

The Knicks currently have the No. 8 pick and are also strongly considering Vassell and Okoro along with Iowa’s combo guard Tyrese Haliburton should they still be available. But it’s also no secret that the Knicks, who are looking for a lead guard, has LaMelo Ball on top of their Draft Board.

Ball has revealed during his Draft Combine media availability that he had conversations with the Knicks before the Lottery.  It was the only team he confirmed he had interviewed. When he was asked if he feels the Knicks would trade up for him, he had an inconclusive answer.

“That I don’t know. Maybe, maybe not,” Ball said.

The following day, Ball curiously withdrew from the Draft Combine nixing other NBA teams’ chance to interview him. He still could or may have selected which teams to talk to outside the Knicks.

The Knicks have the Draft capital and young assets at their disposal to maneuver a trade. But they lack the veteran piece that the Warriors would likely covet.

However, there’s a unanimous belief according to ESPN insider Tim Bontemps last month that the Warriors will try to accumulate trade pieces to position themselves for a potential run at Washington’s Bradley Beal in case he becomes available during next season’s trade deadline.

If that’s the Warriors’ long play, then the Knicks could be in the mix to snag their No. 2 pick in this Draft.

New York Jets VIDEO: Sam Darnold takes the court with Klay Thompson

Set to return to the gridiron, the New York Jets quarterback hit the hardwood alongside a fellow Golden State sports legend.

If anyone in the NBA’s Orlando bubble needs any help over the next few weeks, Sam Darnold may be on hand to assist.

In video posted by Instagram user @ChrisBennett143, the New York Jets quarterback and two of his passing counterparts traded in the pigskin for the roundball alongside NBA All-Star Klay Thompson. Known for throwing six-pointers, Darnold tosses up several triples from long-range alongside the Golden State Warriors’ shooting guard. Darnold is continuing to prepare for the upcoming NFL season alongside Buffalo’s Josh Allen and Kyle Allen of Washington (no relation). The trio has been working with former draft pick Jordan Palmer (brother of Carson) in California.

Darnold’s basketball prowess shouldn’t come as any surprise. Like Thompson, Darnold got his athletic start on Southern California’s high school scene. He was a two-sport athlete at San Clemente High School and his basketball accolades include league MVP honors. His high school coach Marc Popovich believed that Darnold could’ve played college basketball in the Pac-12 Conference and that his hoops prowess helped his case on the football field.

“Basketball, a lot of times, especially with our style of play, was kind of free-flowing in a way,” Popovich said to Alex Kirshner of SB Nation in November 2016. “There was not necessarily something set every single time down, so he had to get used to playing that way. I think that definitely helped in football. He’d had those things where he’s had bad snaps and he’s rolled out and completed a 32-yard pass, and kind of ridiculous stuff like that. And I think in those improvising situations, the basketball really helps. The ability to read defenses, to see where your teammates are, all that stuff really translates.”

ESM’s own Dylan Price wrote about Darnold’s basketball exploits earlier this month.

Darnold instead shifted fully to football and threw for 7,229 yards and 57 touchdowns over two seasons as the starter at the University of Souther California. That came several years after Thompson also burst onto the scene in the Pac-12 with the Washington State Cougars men’s basketball program. Thompson’s No. 1 was retired in Pullman during their January tilt against Oregon State.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

New York Knicks: Kevin Durant moves belongings and self to the Big Apple

Kevin Durant, Brooklyn Nets

After the Golden State Warriors were defeated at the hands of the Toronto Raptors, the free agency rumors began to ramp up even more. The wheelhouse of rumors and trade-bait has been circulating the past few weeks, and Kevin Durant has been at the forefront. The New York Knicks have been mentioned in relation to Durant, but the Warriors seem to be interested in bringing back the superstar as well.

Durant, however, didn’t hesitate to move all of his belongings to New York and prepare to spend his summer rehabbing in the Big Apple. In fact, he has already sat down with Kyrie Irving for dinner to discuss playing together next season, according to Fox Sports.

NBA Insider Ric Bucher: “I’m told Kevin Durant is out of the hospital, moved into a hotel for the time being in the New York area and him and Kyrie have met and have continued to discuss playing together next season. KD has moved all his stuff and will spend his summer in New York… Every indication says KD is making plans to be elsewhere because obviously Kyrie will not be joining the Warriors any time soon.”

Irving has been heavily linked to the Brooklyn Nets as of late, which doesn’t bode well for the Knicks in their pursuit of Durant’s signature. The Knicks have been a favored location for the Warriors star for several weeks, and his recent buying of a house attests to that.

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The Warriors will apparently still try to resign Durant this offseason, along with Klay Thompson, both of which suffered significant injuries that will sideline them for an extended period of time. On the bright side, coming to New York allows the Knicks to provide Durant with star treatment, and there’s no better place to be a celebrity than in the city that never sleeps.

The biggest stage in Madison Square Garden calls Durant’s name — it all comes down to the executives and whether they can convince him to join the youthful ranks of the Knicks.