Sources on what NY may do with its picks

Damian Lillard, Leon Rose and Moses Moody treated image

The 2021 NBA Draft Lottery is on Tuesday evening. The results will impact nearly a dozen franchises.

But for the first time in nearly 10 years, the Knicks won’t be one of them.

After a surprising 41-win season, New York is locked in to the 19th pick in the draft. It’ll also receive the No. 21 pick courtesy of the Kristaps Porzingis trade.

So the Knicks don’t need to figure out who will represent them on the lottery dais. They don’t need to spend time deciding on a good-luck charm for the evening.

Their draft focus is probably on July 29 and the weeks leading up to it.

With that in mind, here is a look at a few draft scenarios for the Knicks:

Will they make all of their picks?

In Leon Rose‘s first draft as team president, the Knicks executed two trades prior to the draft to move up two spots and select Immanuel Quickley.

New York received an early 2020 second-round pick in one of the trades. Instead of making the selection, they traded the pick for a 2023 second-rounder.

One of the factors in moving the second-rounder? The Knicks weren’t sure if they wanted to carry a second-round pick on the 2020-21 roster.

At the time, it seemed like New York was entering a rebuilding year.

As you know, the Knicks ended up winning 41 games and making the playoffs.

So if the club wasn’t sure about keeping a second-round pick on the roster entering a rebuilding year, will they keep all of their picks this season?

That’s a question some agents with players in New York’s range are asking. They don’t see the Knicks keeping all of their early picks (**No. 19, No. 21, No. 32).

Several opposing teams with picks near New York’s feel the same way.

“I can’t see them carrying three rookies on the roster (next year),” a member of an opposing organization said this week.

What could the Knicks get if they packaged No. 19, No. 21 and No. 32?

“That would probably get you into the top eight, depending on what happens (during Tuesday’s lottery),” one opposing exec said, speculating on the potential trade.

Of course, the Knicks could also look to package those picks in a trade for a star player. Including this draft, New York has five first-round picks in the next three drafts. So the club has plenty of draft capital to use in a trade.

If a star like Damian Lillard somehow becomes available via trade, New York would have to offer that draft capital in any trade conversations with Portland.

You also have to wonder if the Knicks’ internal expectations for 2021-22 have changed after they finished No. 4 in the Eastern Conference.

If the Knicks feel an internal pressure to build on last season’s success, it’s easy to see why the they would look to trade their picks in pursuit of a player who can help them win now.

**In this discussion, the Knicks’ No. 58 pick isn’t considered a valuable trade chip.

What if they keep the picks?

If the Knicks keep their picks, it would cost the club roughly $5 million in cap space in the offseason. They can have more than $50 million in space, depending on how they proceed with players currently on the roster. So $5 million less in space isn’t going to handcuff them.

Given how things played out this season, it’s logical to think that the Knicks would target talented defenders and shooters.

Players who may be available when the Knicks select include Moses Moody, a wing from Arkansas, Oregon’s Chris Duarte and Stanford’s Ziaire Williams. Michigan State’s Aaron Henry is also viewed as an excellent defender.