The New York Knicks can grab a 2016 NBA Draft pick and free up cap space if they act fast.
Despite not having a pick for the 2016 NBA draft taking place on June 23 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, the New York Knicks have already started selling their NBA draft caps. So, it’s high time Phil Jackson gets to work to secure a draft pick.
The problem is that Knicks are bereft of assets necessary to make a trade—or so the popular talking point goes. This isn’t exactly true. The Knicks do have a piece in Jose Calderon (don’t roll your eyes just yet) who they can move if they can find the right buyer.
The right buyer in this case is the NBA’s punching bag: the Philadelphia 76ers. The team has officially abandoned the process (of tanking) and is finally intent on fielding a quality NBA team. To do that, the 76ers have to address their many glaring weaknesses.
And the top three areas they need to address are: 1) Lack of veteran leadership, 2) Outside shooting, and 3) A point guard.
Calderon addresses the first two needs outright and although he’s lost a step (or three) he’s still an upgrade to the black hole the 76ers have at point guard right now. Some might argue that the 76ers should grab a free agent instead, but it’s unlikely that any quality veteran free agent will want to sign with a team that’s such a hot mess right now without getting massively overpaid and locking the team into a bad deal for years to come.
Moreover, the 76ers have an overabundance in draft picks and cap space that they can use to make the trade happen. In the first round, Philadelphia owns the first, 24th, and 26th picks. The simple fact is that adding three more rookies (four if you count Dario Saric) to the 76ers already volatile locker room is only going to make matters worse for the team’s chemistry.
“Adding three more rookies (four if you count Dario Saric) to the 76ers already volatile locker room is only going to make matters worse for the team’s chemistry.”
That’s why it makes perfect sense for the 76ers to ship the 26th pick to New York for a level-headed veteran like Calderon.
Another reason why this works for Philly is because the team needs to add salary to come close to meeting the salary cap floor for next year. Right now, the 76ers have $26.8 million in contract obligations for next year excluding team options—which, for the most, part will be declined.
That’s a staggering $56 million shy of the salary cap floor for next year. Even after they sign their first round picks and Dario Saric, the 76ers will still have to spend somewhere in the neighborhood of $46 million just to reach the floor and avoid giving away money in penalties.
This makes Jose Calderon’s $7.7 million salary a non-factor because if they don’t reach the cap they have to pay out the same amount in penalty anyway. Moreover, the Knicks can sweeten the pot with $2 million in cash considerations to offset the cash cost while getting the 76ers closer to the floor.
In conclusion: The Knicks get a first round draft pick and free up $7.7 million in cap space. The 76ers get some veteran leadership to help fix their locker room issues while addressing a position of need.
A rare case of a win-win!