Knicks Set Up for Predicted NBA Trade Explosion

For years, front-office executives in the NBA Draft War Room were forced to make critical decisions in a helter-skelter due to the pressing time limit between each pick (five minutes in the first round and two in the second). As such, many executives on the brink of finalizing a trade couldn’t pull the trigger due to time restrictions. This was particularly problematic for the team acquiring the pick as they had to convey their preferred player in a hurry.

Furthermore, general managers were often left in the dark about the availability of picks in the second round, where some teams sell their picks for cash considerations.

“A team makes a trade, then another trade. I’m spending 10 minutes hunting down picks, and by the time you find out where it is, it’s too late to make a deal,” an Eastern Conference told ESPN in an article published on April 2.

All those time constraints end with the inaugural two-day NBA Draft on June 26 and 27, which will see a day dedicated to each round.

Starting with the 2024 Draft, general managers will be afforded four minutes per pick in the second round, allowing them a longer window to discuss last-minute deals and get more clarity on the draft board. According to ESPN’s Jeremy Woo, the changes are geared towards facilitating more trades than in previous years.

NBA Trade Season Comes Early

“If the draft goes as some NBA personnel hope, expect more trades and an emphasis on players drafted on the second day,” Woo wrote in his article upon speaking to various members of the NBA’s 17-person competition committee that approved the changes.

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The two-day format will also give teams an entire night to reevaluate the draft board before returning to the War Room the next day. According to sources close to ESPN, the overnight break will lead to a”stronger trade market” than ever before.

“The increased pressure we face to trade picks from the end of the lottery through pick 60 requires more time to process in the moment,” a Western Conference executive told ESPN. “Two days allows for the possibility of a longer transaction cycle around the draft and celebrates a signature moment in the league’s calendar.”

The revamped NBA Draft format will also allow franchises to sign second-round players to multiyear minimum deals without eating into offseason cap space. This is a critical incentive for high-payroll teams such as the Warriors, Clippers or Celtics who typically draft players for “win now” situations instead of trying to develop them.

Knicks Stand to Benefit?

The Knicks are a team with the ammunition to make noise in the two-day NBA Draft. The Leon Rose-led front office has a war chest of draft picks to operate with — up to four first-rounders and two second-rounders in 2024.

Current Knicks draft assets: pic.twitter.com/sAAPTvU3lw

— New York Basketball (@NBA_NewYork) January 23, 2024

Although two of those first-rounders (from Detroit and Washington) are unlikely to convey due to heavy protections, the Knicks are almost a lock to draft twice in the first round — with their own pick and Dallas’ first-rounder which is protected 1-10.

As the Knicks inch closer to “title contender” status, they are unlikely to draft 19-year-olds and develop them alongside a group of veterans.

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If the modern NBA has taught us anything, a disgruntled superstar or two will become available via trade over the summer or closer to the February trade deadline. Now could be the time for the Knicks to cash in on its draft assets.

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