1. Trading Into The Top 5
If the New York Knicks want to trade into the top five, it will require the organization to take on an atrocious contract. That may not be what one wants to hear with Joakim Noah already on the roster, but it’s the cost of potentially drafting an All-NBA talent.
Without much to offer, the Knicks’ proposal to the Memphis Grizzlies would have to be centered around a willingness to take back Chandler Parsons.
For those pondering the genesis: Memphis is reportedly open to moving the No. 4 pick if it means clearing Parsons off the books.
Grizzlies fans will argue that this wouldn’t happen without the No. 9 pick, but this is the only acceptable scenario. New York can justify two contractual catastrophes if it has two top-10 draft picks, but not if it walks away with only one.
In this scenario, it would have a core of Kristaps Porzingis, a top-five pick, a top-10 pick, Frank Ntilikina, and Tim Hardaway Jr.—with a 2019 lottery pick potentially on the way.
As for Memphis, this would create immediate flexibility. Parsons is owed $24,107,258 in 2018-19, whereas Lee and Thomas will make a combined $19,373,430—thus providing nearly $5 million in cap relief for the Grizzlies.
Throw in the fact that Thomas has a non-guaranteed salary for 2019-20, and the Grizzlies could be saving as much as $12,342,841 next season while adding players who fit the culture.
It’s unlikely, but it’s also the only top-five answer.