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NBA Daily: What Bold Move Can the Knicks Make?

The New York Knicks surprisingly find themselves in the middle of a playoff race with the trade deadline quickly approaching. Is there a move that could put them over the top?

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The New York Knicks are in the thick of the playoff hunt in the Eastern Conference. The race is tight and the upcoming trade deadline will give teams a chance to add some extra firepower to get over the hump.

The Knicks have already added Derrick Rose and, to this point, the trade has panned out. Still, the Knicks are just .500 and one losing streak could outright end their postseason bid. Is there a move out there that could solidify their playoff hopes?

Dream Scenario

There is one deal that would solidify a playoff spot for the Knicks but also raise their ceiling significantly. As currently constructed, it is difficult to envision the Knicks being anything other than a first-round exit. However, a trade for Kyle Lowry could dramatically change their outlook this season. 

It’s a dream scenario for a variety of reasons. First, Lowry may not even available. Set to be an unrestricted free agent, Lowry is the face of the Toronto Raptors franchise and, arguably, still their best player. Any trade for the 34-year-old, despite his contract situation, should command a big offer and stiff competition from other contenders that covet his services.

New York has the assets to make a deal — the question is how far would they be willing to go? With an abundance of draft picks and younger players like Frank Ntilikina and Kevin Knox who could be included in a deal. That said, the team should avoid including players such as R.J. Barrett, Immanuel Quickley and Mitchell Robinson — players that are set to play a significant role in the team’s future and the type of players Toronto would likely demand in any deal, at least initially.

That’s why it’s the team’s dream scenario, however. If the Knicks can manage to snag Lowry without including any of those three, it would be an absolute win. That said, if the Raptors won’t budge and either look elsewhere for a deal or decide not to trade Lowry outright, there are a number of other options on the trade market that could provide New York a significant boost.

Realistic Scenarios

One of those players could be Victor Oladipo. Arguably the biggest attainable name out there, Oladipo’s price might not be too high, given his uneven play this season and the fact that he’s expected to leave the Houston Rockets in free agency. Likewise, Oladipo has dealt with numerous injuries in recent seasons, but could still help a team in the right situation. 

New York will have competition for him. The Miami HEAT, Dallas Mavericks and Golden State Warriors, among others, have expressed interest in the guard and could put up pretty good offers to boot. That said, if they’re sold on Oladipo, New York should be able to top any hypothetical offer.

A player like Evan Fournier could be another name the Knicks target. Fournier can provide a significant presence on the perimeter, something the Knicks have sorely lacked this season, wouldn’t cost too much to acquire and could thrive in a role either as a starter or off the bench. Also set to hit free agency after the season, the 28-year-old is young enough that New York could look to re-sign him long-term should he play well. And while Fournier isn’t a great defender, the Knicks, one of the best units on that end of the floor this season, should easily be able to cover up his deficiencies.

Another potential acquisition could be the Sacramento Kings’ Harrison Barnes. In the midst of a career year, the 28-year-old has averaged 16.7 points, 6.2 rebounds and 3.5 assists this season, shot 37.6 percent from three and played some solid defense. The Knicks, meanwhile, could benefit greatly from an upgrade at the small forward position, while Barnes’ versatility would allow him to play some power forward as well. Barnes is under contract for two more seasons at a reasonable rate, so he might provide New York with the most bang for their buck if the team is looking to maximize the value of their potential assets.

The reality, however, is that the Knicks may not need to make a bold move. If they can continue to improve, yet retain their most significant assets, the team would position itself nicely for a big move after the season, one that would more realistically fit the franchise’s timeline.

Whatever they decide to do, New York would is in a good position to make a splash. The question is not necessarily if, but rather just how far they are willing to go — and how much would they be willing to give up — to improve the roster. Consider them a wild card at the trade deadline.

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Wizards, Lakers agree to Russell Westbrook and Three-Player Trade Deal

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The Los Angeles Lakers have agreed with the Washington Wizards to acquire Russell Westbrook in a three-player trade, sending Kyle Kuzma, Montrezl Harrell, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, and the No. 22 pick in Thursday’s 2021 NBA Draft to the Wizards. According to ESPN, the Wizards are also giving up their 2024 and 2028 second-round picks as well. During last night’s draft, at pick No. 22, the Lakers sent Wildcats’ center Isaiah Jackson to the Pacers via the Wizards. At pick No. 15, the Wizards drafted Gonzaga’s forward Corey Kispert. In the second round, at pick No. 31, the Milwaukee Bucks traded NBA G League player Isaiah Todd to the Wizards via the Pacers.

On Thursday, Harrell decided to pursue his $9.7 million player option for next season. Yesterday, rumors surfaced across social media regarding a possible Lakers-Kings trade involving Harrell. Despite all the wrong predictions and mindless speculation over these last couple of days, this trade move could work out for both teams.

After all, Westbrook is a 9-time NBA All-Star and three-time assists leader. In his MVP season back in the 2016-17 season, over the course of 81 games, he averaged a career-high 31.6 points, 10.7 rebounds, 10.4 assists, and 1.6 steals per game. On Twitter, Westbrook tweeted, “I’m blessed to have been a part of such a stand up organization. It didn’t take long to make a home in DC, and I will forever be grateful and appreciative of my experience with the organization. Thank you!”

In the 2020-21 NBA season, Caldwell-Pope averaged 9.7 points, 2.7 rebounds, and 1.9 assists per game in 67 games started for the Lakers. The 28-year-old shooting guard will make $13 million next season. As for Kuzma, in 68 games played last season, he averaged 12.9 points, 6.1 rebounds, and 1.9 assists per game. Kuzma is set to earn $13 million next season. For Harrell, in 69 games played last season, he averaged 13.5 points, 6.2 rebounds, and 1.1 assists per game. The six-foot-seven power forward/center is also a six-year player. Instead of having one or two notable super stars, the Wizards having several contributing players might work out better in their favor.

Last season, in 65 games played in his only season spent on the Wizards, Westbrook averaged 22.2 points, 11.5 rebounds, and 11.7 assists. The 32-year-old point guard finished the 2020-21 season with 38 triple-doubles, ranking first in the league and second highest in his own playing career. Westbrook also surpassed Oscar Robertson last season for the most all-time assists; Robertson accumulated 181 triple-doubles in 14 seasons. Now, the two-time NBA scoring champion has 184 career triple-doubles, the most all-time for any player. Furthermore, this is Westbrook’s fourth team in his NBA career.

He is the fifth former MVP in league history to play on four different teams over the course of four seasons or less, adding to the existent list of Bob McAdoo, Allen Iverson, Shaquille O’Neal, and Derrick Rose. Moreover, on December 2, 2020, Westbrook was traded by the Houston Rockets to the Wizards for John Wall and a 2023 first-round draft pick. He is set to earn $44.2 million in the upcoming season. His player option for the 2022-23 season is $47 million. This trade deal will not be official until August 6th.

Per Bovada’s NBA Futures odds, the Lakers now have +300 odds of winning their eighteenth championship in the 2021-22 season. This is a move from 4/1 odds before the trade, leaping the Milwaukee Bucks and Golden State Warriors, and they now have the second best odds behind the Brooklyn Nets (+250). Westbrook also has the best odds of leading the league in assists next season, with first place odds showing EVEN. He is ahead of James Harden (+150), Trae Young (+450), and Luka Doncic (+600). With +6600 odds, he also ranks 19th in the NBA for next season’s MVP odds, trailing Lakers’ teammates such as James (+1200) and Davis (+2800).

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Russell Westbrook joins L.A. Lakers in One of the biggest trades in NBA History

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(Image courtesy of AP)

In one of the biggest NBA Draft trades ever, Los Angeles Lakers acquired the services of Washington Wizards’ former MVP, Russell Westbrook, last night!

As a result of the trade, the Lakers can now boast a holy trinity of attacking talent in Westbrook, Anthony Davis, and, of course, Lebron James, unlike anything seen in recent memory. Assuming this new contingent clicks into gear, it might just be the most frighteningly talented trio to play together in NBA history, rivaling the Bulls triple horn of Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, and Dennis Rodman, or that great Lakers team of the late 80s with Magic Johnson, James Worthy, and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

In exchange for their star man, the Wizards received three players and what was the No 22 overall pick in last night’s NBA Draft. The former Lakers tasked with replacing Westbrook in Washington will be Kyle Kuzma, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, and Montrezl Harrell.

Washington then spent the Lakers No.22 pick on Kentucky’s Isaiah Jackson, but immediately traded him on to the Indiana Pacers in a deal that saw the Wizards acquire pick No.31 and point guard Aaron Holiday. Wizards then used pick No.33 to draft Isaiah Todd to bolster their ranks at power forward.

 

(Image courtesy of AP)

The effervescent Westbrook had another great year in 2020-21, averaging 22.2 points, 11.7 assists, and 11.5 rebounds per game in his first season with the Wizards.

In joining the Lakers star cast, which already boasts the likes of LeBron James and Anthony Davis, Westbrook, a 9x NBA All-Star & 2016-17 MVP, will now be hoping to end his NBA championship drought.

Westbrook has since taken to social media to thank the WashingtonWizards franchise for a great year spent in the capital, tweeting:

“Thank you DC! You welcomed my family and I with open arms from day one,” he wrote. “Everyone from the front office, to the training staff, the coaches, my teammates, and the fans. I’m grateful y’all took a chance on me and supported me every step of the way.”

“I’m blessed to have been a part of such a stand up organization. It didn’t take long to make a home in DC, and I will forever be grateful and appreciative of my experience with the organization. Thank you!”

With a legendary point guard now fixed among the ranks, 2020 NBA Championship winners the Lakers have all the talent required to wrestle back the title from the freshly-crowned Milwaukee Bucks.

So, get yourselves ready for an influx of NBA betting lines on Antetokounmpo, Holiday, and Middleton vs. LeBron, Davis, and Westbrook for next year’s championship games!

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NBA Draft Results 2021: Complete List of First & Second Round Picks

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The 2021 NBA Draft unfolded live at the Barclays Center earlier tonight and it did not disappoint!

60 college standouts were selected in total; each will be gunning for a big rookie year once the new season gets underway on October 19.

(Image courtesy of Associated Press)

The Detroit Pistons did exactly what their fanbase asked for when they opted to draft Oklahoma States’s Cade Cunningham, with the first overall pick.

It may not have been much of a surprise to see the Pistons exit the Barclays Center, NY, with the freshman All-American (and -10000 betting favorite) in the bag, but that won’t dampen the excitement in Detroit! Cunningham averaged 20.1 points, 3.5 assists, and 6.2 rebounds per game for Oklahoma, so expectations are high for the young point guard, who will now be tasked with bringing the glory days back to a Motor City that hasn’t tasted championship gold since 2004.

The Houston Rockets took shooting guard Jalen Green from G League Ignite with the No.2 overall pick, before the Cleveland Cavaliers vouched for Evan Mobley, a forward out of USC, at No.3.

A complete list of picks from rounds 1 & 2 is featured below. A more detailed draft analysis and grades will follow shortly.

Round 1

 
Pick Team Player College
1. Detroit Pistons Cade Cunningham Oklahoma State
2. Houston Rockets Jalen Green G League Ignite
3. Cleveland Cavaliers Evan Mobley USC
4. Toronto Raptors Scottie Barnes Florida State
5. Orlando Magic Jalen Suggs Gonzaga
6. Oklahoma City Thunder Josh Giddey Adelaide 36ers, NBL
7. Golden State Warriors (from Minnesota) Jonathan Kuminga G League Ignite
8. Orlando Magic (from Chicago) Franz Wagner Michigan
9. Sacramento Kings Davion Mitchel Baylor
10. Memphis Grizzlies (from New Orleans) Ziaire Williams Stanford
11. Charlotte Hornets James Bouknight UConn
12. San Antonio Spurs Josh Primo Alabama
13. Indiana Pacers Chris Duarte Oregon
14. Golden State Warriors Moses Moody Arkansas
15. Washington Wizards Corey Kispert Gonzaga
16. Houston Rockets (from OKC) Alperen Sengün Beşiktaş, Turkey
17. New Orleans Pelicans (from Memphis) Trey Murphy Virginia
18. Oklahoma City Thunder Tre Mann Florida
19. Charlotte Hornets (from New York) Kai Jones Texas
20. Atlanta Hawks Jalen Johnson Duke
21. LA Clippers (from New York) Keon Johnson Tennesee
22. Indiana Pacers (from Lakers, Wizards) Isaiah Jackson Kentucky
23. Houston Rockets Usman Garuba Real Madrid, Spain
24. Houston Rockets Josh Christopher Arizona State
25. New York Knicks (from Clippers) Quentin Grimes Houston
26. Denver Nuggets Nah’Shon Lee Hyland VCU
27. Brooklyn Nets Cam Thomas LSU
28. Philadelphia 76ers Jaden Springer Tennessee
29. Brooklyn Nets (from Phoenix) Day’Ron Sharpe North Carolina
30. Memphis Grizzlies (from Utah) Santi Aldama Loyola (Maryland)

Round 2

 
Pick Team Player College
31. Washington Wizards (from Bucks, Pacers) Isaiah Todd G League Ignite
32. New York Knicks Jeremiah Robinson Earl Villanova
33. LA Clippers (from Orlando) Jason Preston Ohio
34. Oklahoma City Thunder Rokas Jokubaitis FC Barcelona/ Lithuania
35. New Orleans Pelicans Herbert Jones Alabama
36. Oklahoma City Thunder Miles McBride West Virginia
37. Charlotte Hornets (from Detroit) JT Thor Auburn
38. Chicago Bulls Ayo Dosunmu Illinois
39. Sacramento Kings Neemias Queta Utah State
40. Memphis Grizzlies (from New Orleans) Jared Butler Baylor
41. San Antonio Spurs Joe Weskamp Iowa
42. Detroit Pistons Isaiah Livers Michigan
43. New Orleans Pelicans Greg Brown III Texas
44. Brooklyn Nets Kessler Edwards Pepperdine
45. Boston Celtics Juhann Begarin Paris basketball
46. Toronto Raptors Dalanao Banton Nebraska
47. Toronto Raptors David Johnson Louisville
48. Atlanta Hawks Sharife Cooper Auburn
49. Brooklyn Nets Marcus Zegarowski Creighton
50. Philadelphia 76ers Filip Petrusev MegaBasket, Serbia
51. Memphis Grizzlies Brandon Boston Jr. Kentucky
52. Detroit Pistons Luka Garza Iowa
53. Philadelphia 76ers Charles Bassey Western Kentucky
54. Milwaukee Bucks (from Indiana) Sandro Mamukelashvili Seton Hall
55. Oklahoma City Thunder Aaron Wiggins Maryland
56. Charlotte Hornets Balsa Koprivica Florida State
57. Detroit Pistons (from Charlotte) Scottie Lewis Florida
58. New York Knicks Balsa Koprivica Texas
59. Brooklyn Nets Raiquan Gray Florida State
60. Milwaukee Bucks (from Indiana) Georgios Kalaitzakis Panathinaikos, Greece

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