The Knicks declined a first-round pick and waived Kemba Walker.
It was a confusing and hectic first two hours of the Knicks draft, with little to show but more room for their Jalen Brunson quest.
They failed to trade Jaden Ivey, who was drafted fifth by the Pistons. Leon Rose then gave up his 11th OKC pick for three future conditional first round picks, although this was not known to the Barclays Center crowd at the time, who booed Ousmane Dieng’s pick because they thought the Frenchman had gone to New York. .
Two picks later, at No. 13, the Hornets took Memphis center Jalen Duren and sent him to the Pistons in a three-team trade, while Walker went to Detroit for a Knicks draft pick (presumably one of the picks acquired from OKC).
So the only thing that’s certain is that the chapter of Walker’s sad homecoming has come to an end. He has $9.2 million left on his contract, which the Pistons are likely to eat up when they release the Bronx point guard.
The Pistons went on to win the draft, adding Ivey and Duren to the roster with Rookie of the Year Caden Cunningham.
The Knicks were, to say the least, a post-draft disappointment after flirting with fireworks. Perhaps a pay cut will help their pursuit of Brunson or Malcolm Brogdon or Kyrie Irving in the long run, but sacrificing a draft to get rid of a player who signed only a year ago is an admission of failure on the part of the front office.
According to ESPN cap guru Bobby Marks, the Knicks had $18 million under the cap after losing Walker. They are also trying to make a deal with Nerlens Noel, Alec Burks and Evan Fournier before they become free agents. An offer starting at about $25 million should be too high for Brunson, according to league analysts, but the Knicks are bullish on the point guard.
It’s also worth noting that Brunson’s father, Rick, has just been hired as an assistant coach and is a family member of team president Leon Rose.
Rose’s son now represents Jalen Brunson at the CAA.
The night started off with a bang as Duke’s Paolo Bankero took first overall by blowing up trial boards that saw Auburn’s Jabari Smith as the top pick.
Gonzaga’s Chet Holmgren finished in second place behind OKC, while Smith was beaten by the Rockets in third place. Iowa’s Keegan Murray came as a bit of a surprise when he finished 4th with the Kings, passing Jayden Ivey. Perhaps not coincidentally, Ivey was reluctant to join the Kings and said he had no contact with the organization prior to the draft.
The Knicks were eliminated in the first round after a disappointing 11th overall last season, a year after climbing to fourth.
Barring surprises, Julius Randle and RJ Barrett will lead the roster after both averaging over 20 points last season. Randle’s production and mood remain a hot topic after last season’s deterioration.
Derrick Rose is set to return from ankle surgery to step up the attack, but younger players, especially Obi Toppin, Immanuel Quickly and Quentin Grimes, have grown up and deserved higher roles by the end of the season.
This was the first year of NBA Experiences in the NBA Draft, attracting fans who pay for two days of lunch and immersion.
Among the perks was a steak dinner with Dominic Wilkins, who told the following highlights from his career:
· Bernard King was the only player who ever intimidated him.
· Former Hawks teammate Kevin Willis used to put his bow on his chest before games to get upset.
· Michael Jordan confessed to Wilkins that the only reason he won their famous 1988 Slam Dunk contest was because it was held in Chicago.