Knicks Rumors: Cole Anthony, Dennis Smith Jr., trading back in draft

Catching you up on the latest rumors surrounding the New York Knicks.

The New York Knicks are never completely out of the headlines. But with the NBA Finals complete and the 2020 NBA Draft the next major event on the league’s calendar, rumors are quickly picking up steam in predicting how team president Leon Rose will approach this offseason in restructuring his roster.

Let’s get you caught up on the latest buzz.

Knicks leaning against Cole Anthony early in draft

The New York Post reported last week the Knicks are “leaning against” taking local product Cole Anthony within the first half of the draft. It’s important to segment the first round this way because the specific language in the report was in reference to New York’s preference for Anthony with their 8th overall pick or if they traded down into the 14-15 range.

In response to that report, Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer noted that he is hearing Anthony will likely go in the 20s. Others have suggested the North Carolina guard could fall as far as the early second round.

What does this all mean? Well, it’s speculative to start. Nobody knows where a player will ultimately land in the draft, and preferences are often fluid leading up to the big night.

Could this mean the Knicks don’t like Anthony at all? It’s possible. SNY reported early in the summer that New York has done their “extensive homework” on the point guard. This doesn’t necessarily mean they did so because they are set on selecting him. You would hope they would do their homework on all prospects within the first two rounds.

But let’s build off this rumor with another one.

Knicks are mulling trading down in the draft

Yesterday, the New York Post came out with another report about the Knicks’ draft intentions. According to the latest, New York is “seriously mulling trading back” in the upcoming draft, unless the unlikely scenario evolves that sees top prospects LaMelo Ball or James Wiseman falling back to the 8th overall pick.

If we were to connect this report, which came from the same source as the report above, we could reasonably believe the Knicks wouldn’t be trading back to take Cole Anthony, but perhaps someone else.

Most draft experts have wide-ranging views on how the draft board will look on draft night. Outside of the first few picks, there is no clear consensus on many of the top prospects. In other words, it’s possible a player that falls to 15th could be as good, or better, than someone available earlier. If the Knicks can acquire extra assets by trading back for a net neutral prospect, it might make sense for them to do so.

By acquiring extra picks, it also could give the front office the latitude to take a chance on a player they aren’t completely sold on. This is where Cole Anthony comes back into the discussion. Maybe the Knicks are leaning against him as a top pick, but would be happy to draft him with a late first round or early second round selection, given he is still available.

Orlando Magic like Dennis Smith Jr.?

In reporting about the possibility of the Knicks trading back in the draft, the New York Post also noted the Orlando Magic “have shown interest” in Dennis Smith Jr.

The report suggests the fourth-year guard could be included in a larger package that saw the Knicks swapping the 8th overall pick for Orlando’s 15th pick. Obviously, if New York was to give up both a higher draft pick and a young player, they would need to receive added compensation from Orlando. The Magic also have the 45th pick in the draft.

SNY reported this week that Smith Jr. arrived to New York “weeks before individual workouts” to gain extra attention from new the coaching staff.

Next: 5 steps for successful offseason

That does it for today. Let the rumors continue!