The 2022 NBA Draft came to a close yesterday with a bunch of new talented players joining different teams in the league. Be it Magic drafting Paolo Banchero or the OKC Thunder selecting Chet Holmgren, this was a stacked draft class nonetheless.
While many teams rejoiced by bringing in young talents, the New York Knicks were an anomaly as they opted not to draft anyone. Despite having the 11th pick in the draft, the Knicks opted to trade their draft for three conditional picks. They would subsequently be given the 13th pick of the draft as well but the Knicks again flipped the pick this time with Kemba Walker for a 2025 first-round pick.
All and all the Knicks ended up with three first-round picks and successfully freed up $18 million in cap space. Knicks fans weren't the biggest fans of all the things that transpired yesterday. Long-time NYK fan and analyst Stephen A.Smith described his frustration over the whole situation. (0:25 onwards)
"They are the one team in this draft that had a pick that walked out with absolutely positively nothing. New York fans continue to suffer."
"We don't know what will happen with all the picks that they have acquired and free agency coming up but as a native New Yorker...... We are disgusted, we are annoyed, we are ticked off beyond comprehension."
"Our eyes are wide open watching this kind of stuff happening. The talent that was in this draft tonight, there were too many impressive talents with impressive potential and none of them ended up being a New York Knick."
The moves that Knicks made yesterday were a real head scratcher to many. While acquiring three first-round picks in place of the 11th pick is impressive, a couple of them are conditional and might not pan out. Them freeing cap space though is a real indication of the Knicks pursuing Jalen Brunson.
Brunson had a breakout campaign with the Mavericks last season and especially stood out in the playoffs. Given how thin their rotation in the guard position is, chasing Brunson in free agency makes sense. But let's not forget that the Mavericks also have quietly made sure to clear enough space for the guard to sign a new contract.
Will the Knicks be able to convince Jalen Brunson and make him their first big-name free-agent signing this summer or will all of these moves to free cap space go in vain?