Grade the Trade: Knicks acquire talented former lottery picks in mock proposal

Would the Knicks do this trade?
New York Knicks, Leon Rose
New York Knicks, Leon Rose / Michael Reaves/GettyImages

The New York Knicks won't be able to fully replace Isaiah Hartenstein's output, but they need to try to fill his void. Mitchell Robinson is back to being the starting center, and Jericho Sims is his backup after the Knicks picked up his team option for 2024-25.

This past season, New York was hampered by injuries. Although the injuries were out of their control, they didn't have the depth to address them adaquately. After going without a draft pick in 2023, the Knicks selected four players in the 2024 draft, and they could be key in the future.

The Knicks need to boost center depth after losing Isaiah Hartenstein

When it comes to the present, New York needs to address its lack of frontcourt depth. The front office didn't immediately sign a free agent after the Hartenstein to Thunder news broke, meaning a trade could be in the works. HoopsHype's Michael Scotto reported that the Knicks are interested in Walker Kessler and Nick Richards. If they don't get one of those two players, the front office could explore other options.

James L. Edwards III covers the Pistons for The Athletic. He explored trades Detroit could do with its $28 million in cap space after signing Tobias Harris. Given the Knicks' need for another big man, Edwards created a New York-Detroit deal (subscription required).

Laying out the trade


Jaden Ivey was a hot topic entering the 2022 NBA Draft. There was talk that the Knicks would trade up for him, but the Pistons selected him with the No. 5 overall pick. Edwards wrote that New York "nearly" traded for the young guard on draft night.

Ivey averaged 15.4 points, 3.4 rebounds, and 3.8 assists per game in his second season in the league, shooting 42.9% from the field and 33.6% from three. The 22-year-old started 61 of the 77 games he played.

Jalen Duren was drafted No. 13 overall in 2022 by the Hornets. The Knicks traded for his draft rights and sent them to the Pistons. He averaged 13.8 points and 11.6 rebounds per game in his second season, shooting 61.9% from the field. The 20-year-old started in 60 of 61 games.

Edwards wrote that Detroit could want to trade Ivey and Duren because both will be due for extensions next summer, and Trajan Langdon (the Pistons' new president of basketball operations) didn't draft them.

Would the Knicks say yes?

In this instance, what matters most is if New York would give this deal the green light. It'd give the Knicks a young center in Duren, but it'd also mean giving up Robinson. Unless another trade or signing were made, Duren would be the starter ahead of Sims.

Duren averaged a double-double in his second season and has the tools to have a successful career. Is he ready to be the starting center on a contender, though? Is New York willing to lose Robinson to put Duren in that position?

Losing McBride is a whole different discussion. Ivey averaged 5.5 more points per game than McBride in 2023-24, but he also averaged nearly 10 more minutes per contest. Ivey's improved defensively, but he isn't on McBride's level.

While getting two promising young players sounds nice, this doesn't seem like a deal the Knicks (or even the Pistons) would make. It wouldn't address New York's center depth, and it'd mean giving up McBride, who is on a steal of a contract. Throwing in picks could be another hold-up for the Knicks.

This deal wouldn't be terrible, but it leaves too many questions.

Grade: C-

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