Knicks could sneakily turn fool's gold into key piece this summer

The Knicks have a stockpile of first-round picks.

New York Knicks, Leon Rose
New York Knicks, Leon Rose / Jim McIsaac/GettyImages

The New York Knicks could be on the prowl for a superstar this summer. Their decision to do so will likely depend on how the 2023-24 season ends and which players are available. Under Leon Rose, the front office has accumulated draft assets that they can cash in whenever they want.

In 2024, New York has four first-round picks and two second-round picks. Three of the first-round picks are protected by Detroit (1-18), Washington (1-12), and Dallas (1-10). The picks from the Pistons and Wizards are unlikely to convey, but the one from the Mavericks should.

If the pick from Washington doesn't convey by 2026, it'll turn into two second-round picks. If the pick from Detroit doesn't convey by 2027, it'll turn into a second-round pick. The Knicks could use those first-round picks in a trade for a star this summer, but they could eventually turn into second-rounders.

Knicks have heavily protected first-round picks that could turn into second-round selections

NBA front offices understand how protected first-round picks work. New York isn't going to "pull a fast one" on an opposing team like Cleveland (absolutely no reason for using the Cavaliers as an example), but the Knicks could benefit from their protected picks.

It isn't just about a first-round pick but the quality of that pick. Two summers ago, the Jazz wanted at least three unprotected first-round picks for Donovan Mitchell, and the Knicks weren't willing to meet that. The Cavaliers did and added two pick swaps.

New York owns a pick in the 2024 NBA Draft. Between now and the 2030 draft, the Knicks have seven unprotected first-round picks (including 2024). Those picks will be valuable to a team trading a superstar. The Knicks tax is a real thing. Because it isn't a secret what picks New York possesses, an opposing team could try to squeeze more out of the organization. Leon Rose isn't a fool, though.

The current front office regime is worlds ahead of the ones from years past. Like one of the Knicks' rivals like to say, trust the process!

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