(SNY Illustration)
(SNY Illustration)

Yes, July 1 is still more than five months away. Hell, we haven't even hit the All-Star break yet. But it's never too early to start thinking about free agency. Here in New York City, the Mecca of Basketball (that's right), this summer is crucial for the local teams.

This year projects to have arguably the best NBA free agent class ever with players like Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard, Jimmy Butler, Kyrie Irving, and Klay Thompson all -- in one way or another -- able to hit the open market. With hundreds of other players available this offseason and a league salary cap set to rise to $109 million for the 2019-20 season, even in the dead of winter all eyes are on summer '19.

New York's teams are expected to be big players in free agency, with both the Knicks and Nets possessing ample salary cap space and the ambition to exponentially improve. But which NYC franchise has the advantage when it comes to attracting the best talent? Quintessential New York or the "Coolest City in America?" (At least according to GQ, never mind that Brooklyn is actually a borough). Do players want to restore a storied franchise or be the face of a new movement? Midtown steakhouse or Smorgasburg?

Let's take a look at some of the major factors that will either attract or deter free agents and, thus, determine the future of hoops in the Big Apple.



OWNERSHIP AND FRONT OFFICE

For better or worse, the ownership group and front office can set the culture for the entire organization. We've seen examples throughout the NBA of what good, stable ownership and front office management looks like (the San Antonio Spurs). We've also seen what dysfunctional ownership and poor management looks like (the Los Angeles Clippers during the Donald Sterling era). Having the right people in place at the top creates an environment where success is possible. It matters, and players around the league talk.

To say Knicks ownership and management has been dysfunctional is an understatement (Charles Oakley situation, anyone?). Since James Dolan assumed control of the Knicks in 1999, the team has experienced five winning seasons. That's awful. The general manager and president roles have been a revolving door, with eight different executives holding various titles over that same time period. That screams instability.

Current team president Steve Mills and GM Scott Perry are the new "brain trust" Dolan has "empowered" to turn the franchise around. It's too early to fully evaluate them, but they hired a good coach (David Fizdale) and seemingly identified solid talent in the 2018 draft (Kevin Knox and Mitchell Robinson). We will wait and see what they do at the trade deadline.

For what it's worth, Dolan will likely remain the team's owner for the foreseeable future, unless that $5 billion deal he mentioned in an interview with ESPN comes along. That's some form of stability.

The Nets ownership structure is a bit more complex and unclear. Mikhail Prokhorov -- worth an estimated $10.1 billion, according to Forbes -- is the controlling owner with a 51 percent stake in the franchise, including ownership of the team's arena, Barclays Center. Joseph Tsai (net worth about $9 billion) is the minority owner controlling the remaining 49 percent, but he has the option to buy enough shares to assume total control in 2021.

Prokhorov wanted to make a splash when he first acquired the franchise and "urged" then-GM Billy King to trade for star power. Brooklyn acquired Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce from Boston in 2013, sending back its first-round draft picks in 2014, 2016 and 2018.

Those picks turned into James Young, Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum. This is definitely a black mark on Prokhorov, and the team has spent the last five years trying to dig out of that mess.

But, even after what some consider the worst trade in NBA history, there is hope.

The Nets now appear committed to building a true contending franchise. When Prokhorov and his team hired Sean Marks as their general manager in 2016 from the vaunted Spurs organization, it showed their interest in creating a proper culture, and adding someone from a winning organization was smart.

Marks signed a four-year contract when he was brought on, so this summer will be a big indicator whether or not he can take great leaps to go along with his current steady progress.

Both owners have shown a willingness to spend money, but until more recently, Dolan was known for reportedly meddling in the team's affairs. Brooklyn's majority owner seems more willing to bring in the right basketball people and let them do their job, seemingly having learned from the ill-fated trade that once mortgaged away the Nets' future.

Advantage: Nets



COACHING

A common misconception is that NBA players don't like coaching or don't respect coaches. There are approximately 450 players in the NBA, so you have to be exceptional to make this league. Players want coaches to be exceptional as well.

In David Fizdale, the Knicks have a coach who is generally well respected by players and was co-signed by LeBron James. When Fizdale was hired in May, James told the Cleveland Plain Dealer, "I think he's a good coach, a good communicator. He's never going to shy away from whatever he feels is right."

Players also value honesty: They want to be told when they're not doing what is needed and how they can perform better. Fizdale talked about how he was able to coach James, saying, "Respect through telling the truth to each other, being honest, telling each other what we don't want to hear. Being there for each other when we hit low moments."

Even Fizdale's former player in Memphis, Marc Gasol -- who was largely responsible for Fizdale's firing -- had good things to say about him prior to a Knicks-Grizzlies game earlier this season.

"I'm a better player because of David; I can say that 100 percent," Gasol said. "Even though last year was really tough for everyone, I'm a better player this year than I was last year and a lot had to do with him."

Although lately, Enes Kanter seems less than pleased with how his playing time (or lack thereof) has been handled.

The Knicks are 10-36 entering Friday night's game at Barclays Center and playing without their best player, Kristaps Porzingis. It's not particularly fair to grade Fizdale when the team is not trying to win, as they are clearly in rebuild mode. But Fizdale does have the team playing hard while keeping things competitive on most nights.

Their problem is the roster is devoid of the experienced top-end talent necessary to compete at a high level.

Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson has a similar issue to Fizdale, although Brooklyn's roster is not as poor as the one in Manhattan. The Nets are also without their best player, Caris LeVert, but they do have a healthy mix of young players with upside and veterans who know how to play.

Even though they've been an sub-.500 club during much of Atkinson's first two-plus seasons, they're currently 26-23, in sixth place in the East, and turning into one of the NBA's better stories. 

The NBA's golden boy of coaching, Brad Stevens, sung Atkinson's praises before a recent game.

"We know how good they are. We know how well-coached they are," he said. "I said last week I don't see how they don't make the playoffs. They're an excellent offensive team. I think they have a lot of versatility defensively. I think they're superbly coached and they all know what they do and they do it every single night."

Atkinson cut his teeth as a player-development coach, and you can see it in the work he's done with Spencer Dinwiddie, Joe Harris and D'Angelo Russell. His offensive system borrows from Mike Budenholzer, Gregg Popovich, Rick Carlisle and Terry Stotts; some of the best in the business.

Again, it's hard to grade accurately as Atkinson has an advantage over Fizdale since he's been with his franchise longer, but both coaches have their teams competing hard, despite the roster limitations.  

Advantage: Nets (slightly)



HOME ARENA AND FANS

Don't get it mixed up - atmosphere and fans matter. 

The Knicks have the World's Most Famous Arena that's hosted some of the greatest events in history, from "The Fight of the Century" to WrestleMania. Everything about Madison Square Garden says NYC: The bright lights, Seventh Avenue, Broadway.

Despite the team's record, Knicks games are a headline event with an A-list celebrity row that includes the likes of Spike Lee, Chris Rock, Jerry Seinfeld, Dustin Hoffman and John McEnroe. But you could wind up seeing any star like Michael B. Jordan, Priyanka Chopra, and Sophie Turner, just to name a few.

The non-celebrity Knicks fans provide the Garden with a raucous atmosphere and, as the more storied franchise, they have more generational fans. They are also the more likely of the two franchises to have more bandwagoners once they start winning. Poor product or good product, the Garden is always a tough ticket and they have a group of loyal supporters.

Barclays Center is the newer arena, with a theatre-like atmosphere. The building does not have the history of MSG, but has slowly been building its own. Former minority owner Jay-Z and Beyonce used to grace Barclays with their presence, but now Nets celebrity row includes the likes of Steve Madden, Angela Yee, and DJ Envy. Brooklyn locals like Fabolous and Rosie Perez are often in attendance.

The Nets are a "newer" franchise, having joined the league as part of the ABA/NBA merger. Their NBA history, save the two NBA Finals runs with Jason Kidd, is not decorated with success and they have less of a New York tie (though the ABA franchise dates back to Long Island and won two titles with some guy named Julius Erving).

Still, the ABA days, time spent in the swamplands of New Jersey, and recent ineptitude have stunted the growth of their fan base.

But this one is no contest. The Garden is the Garden. They don't call it the World's Most Famous Arena for nothing.

Advantage: Knicks



CAP SPACE AND CURRENT ROSTERS

Neither franchise has been very successful on the court as of late, both reeling from the mistakes of general managers' past. However, there is light at the end of their proverbial dark tunnels.

The Knicks have made little secret they hope to land Kevin Durant and pair him with Porzingis as the foundation of a new contender. They waived Joakim Noah and can clear space for one max player in 2019. The question is, will they be able to clear space for two max players?

That will be more challenging and they would need to find takers for both Tim Hardaway Jr. and Courtney Lee without taking much salary back in return, whom they've reportedly made available ahead of the trade deadline.

But allow yourself to dream for a moment: KD, KP, Kevin Knox, and their 2019 draft pick (you know who) sounds pretty good.

The Nets had cap space for two max slots in 2019 before they decided to extend Spencer Dinwiddie, which essentially kept an All-Star level player on their roster. They still have space for a single max player and Sean Marks could clear a lot more room by not making qualifying offers to D'Angelo Russell ($21.1 million cap hold) and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson ($7.4 million cap hold).

With Dinwiddie, promising big man Jarrett Allen, rookie sensation Rodions Kurucs, and pre-injury Most Improved Player candidate Caris LeVert (No. 50 on the Simmons' trade value list) as a core, that roster is appealing.

Both squads have young talent and most would argue that KP is better than LeVert, but nothing is guaranteed after an injury with someone Porzingis' size. Knox looks like he could grow into something special, but as it stands right now, the talent tilts more in the Nets' favor.

Advantage: Nets



2019 DRAFT

The 2019 draft class doesn't appear to be very deep, but there is a lot of hype around the top with Zion Williamson, R.J. Barrett, Cam Reddish, Jarrett Culver, Ja Morant, and Bol Bol (though he's out the rest of the season with a foot injury).

The Knicks seem to be headed for the lottery, and if they pick in the Top 3 or 5, they could be adding a future All-Star. The Knicks' recent draft history -- despite the doom and gloom of many fans -- has actually been pretty good. They may have whiffed on Frank Ntilikina, but Porzingis, Knox, Allonzo Trier and Mitchell Robinson have all shown promise.

The Nets have their own first-round pick for the first time in years, but it looks like they are going to hover around a lower playoff seed all year and find themselves outside of the Draft Lottery. But Sean Marks and his scouting and player development staff found LeVert, Dinwiddie, Allen and Kurucs all late in the first or second rounds. They don't seem bothered where they pick.

The draft has some real gems near the top, and the Knicks look likely to be picking in the top 4.

Advantage: Knicks


WHO WINS?

The Nets come up winners in three of five categories, and while they're not running away with this head-to-head, they hold advantages in the categories that matter. Brooklyn looks to have the better front office, slightly better coaching, and a better roster to build upon.

Yes, the Knicks are the storied franchise and have the pedigree, but the Nets are built to win right now.

If you're a big-time free agent and you could make the same money with either franchise -- wouldn't winning trump all?

Tags: Allonzo Trier, Courtney Lee, Frank Ntilikina, Jarrett Allen, Joakim Noah, Kevin Knox, Mitchell Robinson, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, Tim Hardaway Jr.
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Reddish talks NBA Draft 00:01:04
Former Duke star Cam Reddish talks with SNY's Ian Begley about this week's NBA Draft and possibility of playing for the Knicks

Former Duke star Cam Reddish caught up with SNY's Ian Begley this week in New York City ahead of the NBA Draft to talk about his meeting with the Knicks and what it would be like for him if he were to end up in New York.  

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May 8, 2019; Milwaukee, WI, USA; Boston Celtics center Al Horford (42) during game five of the second round of the 2019 NBA Playoffs against the Milwaukee Bucks at Fiserv Forum. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports (Jeff Hanisch)
May 8, 2019; Milwaukee, WI, USA; Boston Celtics center Al Horford (42) during game five of the second round of the 2019 NBA Playoffs against the Milwaukee Bucks at Fiserv Forum. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports (Jeff Hanisch)

Al Horford is reportedly set to hit the free agent market.

The five-time All-Star will decline his $30 million option with the Celtics, and though there had previously been a thought that Horford would return to the Celtics on a more team-friendly deal, Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald is now reporting that Horford will look elsewhere, likely for a four-year contract.

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Duke Blue Devils forward R.J. Barrett plays defense as Georgia Tech Yellowjackets guard Michael Devoe dribbles up court during the second half at Cameron Indoor Stadium. (Rob Kinnan/USA TODAY Sports)
Duke Blue Devils forward R.J. Barrett plays defense as Georgia Tech Yellowjackets guard Michael Devoe dribbles up court during the second half at Cameron Indoor Stadium. (Rob Kinnan/USA TODAY Sports)

The Knicks are currently poised to take RJ Barrett with the third overall pick in Thursday's NBA Draft, and many seem to think he's the perfect fit for New York. 

Add Mike Krzyzewski to that list. 

The Duke star's college coach was in New York to host his pre-draft SiriusXM show and explained why he believes Barrett will have success with the Knicks. 

 

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Apr 24, 2019; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Rockets guard Chris Paul (3) against the Utah Jazz in game five of the first round of the 2019 NBA Playoffs at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Erik Williams-USA TODAY Sports (Erik Williams)
Apr 24, 2019; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Rockets guard Chris Paul (3) against the Utah Jazz in game five of the first round of the 2019 NBA Playoffs at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Erik Williams-USA TODAY Sports (Erik Williams)

There is turmoil in Houston between the Rockets two superstars in SG James Harden and PG Chris Paul, so much so that the latter has demanded a trade, per Yahoo! Sports Vincent Goodwill.

Goodwill says Harden and Paul's relationship has been termed "unsalvageable," and after the Rockets fell to the Warriors in the second round of the playoffs, Harden had a "him or me" talk with ownership. 

"There's no respect at all, on either side," a source told Goodwill. "They need to get away from one another. Chris doesn't respect James' standing in the league, and James doesn't respect the work Chris has put in to this point."

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New York Knicks president Phil Jackson, left, and general manager Steve Mills answer questions during a news conference at the team's training facility, Friday, July 8, 2016, in Greenburgh, N.Y. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson) (Julie Jacobson/AP)
New York Knicks president Phil Jackson, left, and general manager Steve Mills answer questions during a news conference at the team's training facility, Friday, July 8, 2016, in Greenburgh, N.Y. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson) (Julie Jacobson/AP)

The Knicks have a workout scheduled with Vanderbilt's Darius Garland on Wednesday, the day before the NBA Draft, league sources confirm to SNY.

Garland is one of the top point guards in the draft but is projected outside of the top three picks. ESPN, which first reported Garland's workout, says that he is in serious consideration for New York with the third pick.

It's worth noting, though, that the Knicks have worked out other prospects who will likely fall outside of the top three, including Duke's Cam Reddish and Texas Tech's Jarrett Culver. They have also met with the projected No. 2 pick Ja Morant.

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 (Richard Mackson)
(Richard Mackson)

With just two days until the Knicks are on the clock at No. 3 overall, one would think New York is set with their plan come Thursday night. 

That is until a "last-minute workout" was scheduled for Wednesday with Vanderbilt PG Darius Garland, per ESPN's Jonathan Givony

Garland is a top-10 prospect that some can see going in the top five. Givony adds that the Knicks are in "serious consideration" of picking Garland at No. 3...

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Feb 9, 2019; Charlottesville, VA, USA; Duke Blue Devils forward RJ Barrett (5) shoots the ball against the Virginia Cavaliers at John Paul Jones Arena. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports (Geoff Burke)
Feb 9, 2019; Charlottesville, VA, USA; Duke Blue Devils forward RJ Barrett (5) shoots the ball against the Virginia Cavaliers at John Paul Jones Arena. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports (Geoff Burke)

Ian Begley, SNY.tv Twitter |

RJ Barrett has been training for several weeks ahead of Thursday's NBA Draft. And the workouts, with trainer Drew Hanlen, have prioritized two area's of Barrett's game: shooting and the ability to shift directions off the dribble to elude defenders - aka wiggle.

Scouts mention those two areas when discussing things Barrett - who the Knicks will likely select at No. 3 on Thursday if he's on the board and Ja Morant is not - needs to improve upon at the next level.

In a phone interview last week, Hanlen discussed some of the things that Barrett's been working on ahead of the draft:

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Mar 31, 2019; Washington, DC, USA; Duke Blue Devils forward RJ Barrett (5) races after a basket during the first half against the Michigan State Spartans in the championship game of the east regional of the 2019 NCAA Tournament at Capital One Arena. Mandatory Credit: Amber Searls-USA TODAY Sports (Amber Searls)
Mar 31, 2019; Washington, DC, USA; Duke Blue Devils forward RJ Barrett (5) races after a basket during the first half against the Michigan State Spartans in the championship game of the east regional of the 2019 NCAA Tournament at Capital One Arena. Mandatory Credit: Amber Searls-USA TODAY Sports (Amber Searls)

The Knicks drafting RJ Barrett with the No. 3 pick reportedly may not be that sure of a thing.

According to Marc Berman of The Post, the New Orleans Pelicans have had internal talks to trade up from their recently acquired No. 4 pick from the Los Angeles Lakers to the No. 2 pick so they could select Barrett after taking Zion Williamson with the first overall pick. 

If such a deal were to happen, Murray State's Ja Morant would be the Knicks' best option at 3. 

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Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant smiles during warm ups before game five of the first round of the 2019 NBA playoffs against the LA Clippers at Oracle Arena. (Kelley L Cox/USA TODAY Sports)
Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant smiles during warm ups before game five of the first round of the 2019 NBA playoffs against the LA Clippers at Oracle Arena. (Kelley L Cox/USA TODAY Sports)

The Knicks' odds to sign free agent to-be Kevin Durant have worsened, relatively speaking.

A week after they were favored to land Durant after he suffered what would become a ruptured Achilles tendon, the Knicks are now considered co-favorites with the Golden State Warriors at +150 to land Durant, according to Odds Shark.

The same sports book last week listed the Knicks at -175 odds and the Warriors at +210. 

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Top 5: Knicks bad lottery picks 00:00:59
The New York Knicks have had 11 lottery picks since it began in 1985. See who we believe are the 5 worst selections the Knicks have made.

The Knicks hold the No. 3 pick in the NBA Draft. Will their selection become of one the best lottery picks in team history?

Or will it be a bust?

Here's a look at SNY's bottom five Knicks lottery picks, since its inception in 1985.

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Apr 6, 2017; New York, NY, USA; General view during pre game introductions before a game between the New York Knicks and the Washington Wizards at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Apr 6, 2017; New York, NY, USA; General view during pre game introductions before a game between the New York Knicks and the Washington Wizards at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

Ian Begley, SNY.tv Twitter |

Barring an unforeseen change, Westchester Knicks G League coach Mike Miller is expected to join David Fizdale's staff next season, per SNY sources.

Miller was named G League coach of the year in 2017-18.

Assistant Howard Eisley left the Knicks recently to join Juwan Howard's staff at Michigan.

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RJ Barrett: His story so far 00:02:48
SNY tells the story of RJ Barrett's road from high school through college to the NBA Draft. Will his next stop be with the New York Knicks?

Ian Begley, SNY.tv Twitter |

About six weeks after Duke's loss to Michigan State in the Elite Eight, RJ Barrett was in California with Zion Williamson and trainer David Zenon. They were on the West Coast for something totally unrelated to college basketball, but the defeat was still on Barrett's mind. 

"He was saying, 'We should have had that game,'" Zenon says. "(My teammates and I) should have done this and we should have done that. He had four or five things that he listed that the players needed to do." 

As he reeled off the specific issues, it was clear how much the loss still bothered Barrett.

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New Orleans Pelicans center Julius Randle shoots over Milwaukee Bucks center Brook Lopez during the first quarter at the Smoothie King Center. (Derick E. Hingle/USA TODAY Sports)
New Orleans Pelicans center Julius Randle shoots over Milwaukee Bucks center Brook Lopez during the first quarter at the Smoothie King Center. (Derick E. Hingle/USA TODAY Sports)

The Knicks did not land Anthony Davis, but perhaps they can make a run at another Pelicans center.

New York is reportedly a fan of Julius Randle, according to the New York Post's Marc Berman, and could pursue him when free agency begins in two weeks.

Randle, 24, will not exercise his $9 million player option with New Orleans so he can test free agency, according to The Athletic's Shams Charania.

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Impact of Davis trade on Knicks 00:01:06
New York Knicks saw another domino fall with Anthony Davis heading to the Lakers. SNY's Ian Begley discusses the implications it will have.

Any designs the Knicks might have had of forming a superteam with Anthony Davis were destroyed Saturday evening with the news that the Pelicans were dealing the star to the Lakers for Lonzo BallBrandon IngramJosh Hart and three first-round picks, including this year's No. 4 overall pick.

So where do the Knicks go from here?

As SNY's Ian Begley has reported, the Knicks plan to aggressively pursue Kawhi Leonard, who just led the Raptors to their first-ever NBA championship and was named NBA Finals MVP. 

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Mar 4, 2019; Salt Lake City, UT, USA; New Orleans Pelicans forward Anthony Davis (23) dribbles the ball during the first half against the Utah Jazz at Vivint Smart Home Arena. Mandatory Credit: Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports (Russell Isabella)
Mar 4, 2019; Salt Lake City, UT, USA; New Orleans Pelicans forward Anthony Davis (23) dribbles the ball during the first half against the Utah Jazz at Vivint Smart Home Arena. Mandatory Credit: Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports (Russell Isabella)

The Knicks will have to move ahead without Anthony Davis

The Pelicans have agreed to trade the superstar to the Lakers for a monster haul which includes Lonzo BallBrandon IngramJosh Hart and three first-round picks, including the No. 4 overall pick in this year's NBA Draft, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski

SNY's Ian Begley previously reported that the Knicks had at least one conversation with the Pelicans about a potential Davis trade.

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Top 5: Best Knicks Lottery Picks 00:01:02
The New York Knicks have had 11 lottery picks since it began in 1985. See who we believe are the 5 best selections the Knicks have made.

The Knicks hold the No. 3 pick in the NBA Draft. Will their selection become of one the best lottery picks in team history?

Here's a look at SNY's Top 5 Knicks lottery picks, since its inception in 1985.

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Top 5: Worst #3 NBA draft picks 00:00:57
The New York Knicks are hoping RJ Barrett, if taken at #3, develops into a better player than these other #3 overall picks

The Knicks hold the No. 3 pick in the NBA Draft. All eyes are on R.J. Barrett, but the Knicks are hoping to avoid making this list with whichever player they take.

Here's a look at SNY's 5 Worst No. 3 picks of the Draft Lottery era (since 1985.) 

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Nov 4, 2018; Washington, DC, USA; New York Knicks guard Allonzo Trier (14) dribbles past Washington Wizards guard Austin Rivers (1) during the first half at Capital One Arena. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Mills)
Nov 4, 2018; Washington, DC, USA; New York Knicks guard Allonzo Trier (14) dribbles past Washington Wizards guard Austin Rivers (1) during the first half at Capital One Arena. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Mills)

Ian Begley, SNY.tv Twitter |

The Knicks have decided to pick up the $3.5 million option on Allonzo Trier's contract, SNY sources confirm. Trier, an undrafted guard out of Arizona, signed a two-way contract with New York after the 2019 draft which was converted to a traditional contract after his strong play as a rookie. 

New York still has ways to create enough cap space for two max free agents with the addition of Trier's $3.5 million for next season. 

The club plans to pursue max free agents, including Kevin Durant and Kawhi Leonard, this offseason. 

Tags: Allonzo Trier
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Mar 15, 2019; San Antonio, TX, USA; New York Knicks small forward Lance Thomas (42) dunks over San Antonio Spurs center Jakob Poeltl (right) during the first half at AT&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports (Soobum Im)
Mar 15, 2019; San Antonio, TX, USA; New York Knicks small forward Lance Thomas (42) dunks over San Antonio Spurs center Jakob Poeltl (right) during the first half at AT&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports (Soobum Im)

The Knicks have until June 30 to decide whether they want to guarantee $1 million of veteran Lance Thomas' $7.6 million salary for the 2019-20 season.

The team's plan as of now is to waive Thomas before that deadline, sources tell SNY's Ian Begley.

Despite that plan, sources tell Begley that the Knicks have interest in bringing Thomas back as a free agent. The team values Thomas' leadership, professionalism and the way he has mentored the franchise's younger players.

Tags: Lance Thomas
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New York Knicks head coach David Fizdale smiles during a news conference, Tuesday, May 8, 2018, in New York. The Knicks hired Fizdale after agreeing to terms with the former Memphis Grizzlies coach last week. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer) (Mary Altaffer/AP)
New York Knicks head coach David Fizdale smiles during a news conference, Tuesday, May 8, 2018, in New York. The Knicks hired Fizdale after agreeing to terms with the former Memphis Grizzlies coach last week. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer) (Mary Altaffer/AP)

Now that the Toronto Raptors have been crowned the 2019 NBA Finals champions after defeating the Golden State Warriors in six games, it is time to shift gears toward the 2019-20 season. Which means looking at the early odds for next year's champion. 

For the Knicks, they still have a long way to go, but that could change -- for better or worse -- after NBA free agency is over. 

Per the latest from Odds Shark, the Knicks are slated at 33-to-1 odds to win the NBA Finals next year. 

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Top 5: Best #3 NBA draft picks 00:01:02
The New York Knicks are hoping their selection in the NBA draft joins the ranks of these 5 players taken at #3 overall since the lottery.

The Knicks hold the No. 3 pick in the NBA Draft. Will their selection, perhaps RJ Barrett, become one of the best No. 3 picks ever?

Here's a look at SNY's Top 5 No. 3 picks of the Draft Lottery era (since 1985.) 

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Feb 17, 2019; Charlotte, NC, USA; Team Giannis guard Kemba Walker of the Charlotte Hornets (15) drives to the basket against Team Lebron guard Kyrie Irving of the Boston Celtics (11) during the 2019 NBA All-Star Game at Spectrum Center. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports (Bob Donnan)
Feb 17, 2019; Charlotte, NC, USA; Team Giannis guard Kemba Walker of the Charlotte Hornets (15) drives to the basket against Team Lebron guard Kyrie Irving of the Boston Celtics (11) during the 2019 NBA All-Star Game at Spectrum Center. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports (Bob Donnan)

With the Knicks owning two max free agent slots, it was always the dream of marrying Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving in blue and orange next season in The Garden. Even with Durant's Achilles injury, that still might be the case. 

However, Irving may cause a rift in those plans if he does indeed land in Brooklyn. 

SNY's Ian Begley has heard from sources that teams monitoring Irving's situation remain under the impression that, if he chooses to leave Boston, the Nets are currently at the top of his desired teams list. And The Athletic's Shams Charania noted Wednedsay that Irving will be opting out of his deal with Boston, as he gets set to hit the market. 

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Jun 10, 2019; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant (35) walks to the locker room during the second quarter against the Toronto Raptors in game five of the 2019 NBA Finals at Scotiabank Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports (Kyle Terada)
Jun 10, 2019; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant (35) walks to the locker room during the second quarter against the Toronto Raptors in game five of the 2019 NBA Finals at Scotiabank Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports (Kyle Terada)

Knicks free agent target Kevin Durant confirmed the worst fears on Wednesday, announcing that he had surgery for a ruptured Achilles. While recovery times vary, ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski is reporting that Durant is expected to miss the entire 2019-20 season.

While the injury is a big blow to Durant, it might not scare the Knicks off, with SNY's Ian Begley reporting that some in the organization would still consider signing KD despite the Achilles injury. 

After suffering the injury in Game 5 of the NBA Finals, Durant traveled to New York for evaluations and remained there for surgery.

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Barrett vs. Zion NBA potential 00:01:22
The New York Knicks lost out on Zion Williamson but some NBA scouts believe RJ Barrett could be the better NBA player.

Ian Begley, SNY.tv Twitter |

"I think these two guys have a legitimate argument as to who's the best guy coming out and who will be the best pro. I don't think, by any means, it's automatic that Zion will be a better pro than RJ."

The quote above was from Kevin Boyle, R.J. Barrett's high school coach at Montverde Academy. Having coached pros like Joel Embiid, Kyrie Irving, Ben Simmons and D'Angelo Russell, Boyle knows elite talent. But he also is partial to Barrett, the player the Knicks seem most likely to draft, for obvious reasons. So we asked neutral parties - scouts and talent evaluators - if they thought that Barrett could end up as a better pro player than Zion Williamson, his Duke teammate.

Here's what they said:

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Feb 14, 2019; Clarksville, TN, USA; Murray State Racers guard Ja Morant (12) shoots against the Austin Peay Governors during the first half at the Winfield Dunn Center. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports (Brian Spurlock)
Feb 14, 2019; Clarksville, TN, USA; Murray State Racers guard Ja Morant (12) shoots against the Austin Peay Governors during the first half at the Winfield Dunn Center. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports (Brian Spurlock)

Ian Begley, SNY.tv Twitter |

The Knicks have a pre-draft meeting scheduled with Murray State's Ja Morant, SNY sources confirm. 

New York has the No. 3 pick in the draft and has already worked out Duke's RJ Barrett and Texas Tech's Jarrett Culver in individual workouts. 

Morant is recovering from surgery, so he won't be working out for the club, but he will meet with members of the organization in New York, as ESPN first reported. The meeting is expected to take place on Friday, not on Thursday as was reported. 

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Jan 12, 2019; Orlando, FL, USA; Boston Celtics guard Kyrie Irving (11) dribbles the ball during the second half at Amway Center. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports (Kim Klement)
Jan 12, 2019; Orlando, FL, USA; Boston Celtics guard Kyrie Irving (11) dribbles the ball during the second half at Amway Center. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports (Kim Klement)

Celtics star Kyrie Irving can be a free agent after the season, and the idea that he could team up with fellow free agent Kevin Durant on the Knicks this summer has picked up steam since the Kristaps Porzingis trade cleared two max slots for New York. Here are the latest rumors...


June 12, 8:13 PM:

According to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, Irving has decided to part ways with agent Jeff Wechsler. He is expected to partner with Roc Nation, which, of course, was founded by New York native Jay-Z. Interestingly enough, though, Roc Nation's president Michael Yormark is the twin brother of Nets CEO Brett Yormark, and Caris LeVert is another Roc Nation client.

Reports circulated earlier in the day that Irving will opt out of his current contract with the Celtics. Now, just 18 days from when free agents can begin meeting with teams, Irving has changed his representation.

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Durant and Davis scenarios in NY 00:01:30
Ian Begley discusses what options the Knicks have now that Kevin Durant is hurt. Things are looking less promising for Anthony Davis in NY.

The trade winds have officially come in, as Anthony Davis news swirled around on Wednesday afternoon. Here's what we know so far:


Celtics and Lakers have touched base with Pelicans 

ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski broke the news first that the Celtics and Lakers have begun trade talks with the Pelicans for Davis. The Lakers have long been the favorite to land AD, while the Celtics seem desperate to land him in hopes of keeping PG Kyrie Irving in Boston. 

Pelicans EVP of player operations David Griffin is looking to make a three-team deal, and has reportedly laid down the framework to get a deal done. However, no reports have surfaced with which third team could be involved in a potential trade. 

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Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant sits on the court after an apparent injury during the second quarter in Game 5 against the Toronto Raptors of the 2019 NBA Finals at Scotiabank Arena. (Kyle Terada/USA TODAY Sports)
Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant sits on the court after an apparent injury during the second quarter in Game 5 against the Toronto Raptors of the 2019 NBA Finals at Scotiabank Arena. (Kyle Terada/USA TODAY Sports)

Knicks free agent target Kevin Durant suffered an Achilles injury during Game 5 of the NBA Finals, casting a shadow over his future. Here's the latest...


June 12, 3:59 PM:

Durant announced via Instagram that he had successful surgery for a ruptured Achilles, while providing a message. 

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Dec 9, 2018; Detroit, MI, USA; New Orleans Pelicans forward Anthony Davis (23) during the game against the Detroit Pistons at Little Caesars Arena. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports (Tim Fuller)
Dec 9, 2018; Detroit, MI, USA; New Orleans Pelicans forward Anthony Davis (23) during the game against the Detroit Pistons at Little Caesars Arena. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports (Tim Fuller)

Pelicans star Anthony Davis has requested a trade, informing the team he has no interest in re-signing. With news of Davis wanting out came reports that the Knicks have strong interest in trading for him. Here are the latest rumors...


June 12, 3:54 PM:

The Anthony Davis sweepstakes has already started, as ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski is hearing the Celtics and Lakers are already engaged in trade talks with the Pelicans.

Those two teams will likely be the Knicks' top competition for Davis' talents next season. Rich Paul, his agent, did mention that the Celtics would likely get him as a rental for one season.

Tags: Kristaps Porzingis, Danny Abriano
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May 6, 2019; Houston, TX, USA; Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant (35) reacts after a play during the third quarter against the Houston Rockets in game four of the second round of the 2019 NBA Playoffs at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports (Troy Taormina)
May 6, 2019; Houston, TX, USA; Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant (35) reacts after a play during the third quarter against the Houston Rockets in game four of the second round of the 2019 NBA Playoffs at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports (Troy Taormina)

Ian Begley, SNY.tv Twitter |

After Kevin Durant announced Wednesday afternoon that he ruptured his Achilles, the teams interested in Durant are probably asking themselves a question: Do we still pursue him in free agency?

If Durant declines his $31.5 million player option for next season, any team interested in signing him would have to be comfortable with him possibly being sidelined for the first year of his contract.

Would the Knicks, who have enough cap space to sign two max free agents, be comfortable with that scenario? We'll find out in a few weeks, but there are indeed some members of the organization who would consider offering Durant a contract this summer, per SNY sources. Durant is eligible for a four-year, $141 million max contract from New York or any other team looking to sign him away from the Warriors.

Tags: Allonzo Trier, Kevin Knox, Mitchell Robinson
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Jan 28, 2019; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant (35) reacts by pounding on his chest after making a play against the Indiana Pacers during the first quarter at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports (Brian Spurlock)
Jan 28, 2019; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant (35) reacts by pounding on his chest after making a play against the Indiana Pacers during the first quarter at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports (Brian Spurlock)

Warriors star Kevin Durant can be a free agent after the season, and the idea that he could join the Knicks this summer took a hit when he suffered an Achilles injury in Game 5 of the NBA Finals. Here's the latest...


June 12, 9:36 AM:

While many thought Durant opting in to the $31.5 million option with the Warriors for 2019-20 was likely in the wake of his Achilles injury, ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski said Wednesday that it would be the "last resort."

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Mar 1, 2019; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Charlotte Hornets guard Kemba Walker (15) puts up a shot against Brooklyn Nets forward DeMarre Carroll (9) in the second quarter at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Nicole Sweet-USA TODAY Sports (Nicole Sweet)
Mar 1, 2019; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Charlotte Hornets guard Kemba Walker (15) puts up a shot against Brooklyn Nets forward DeMarre Carroll (9) in the second quarter at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Nicole Sweet-USA TODAY Sports (Nicole Sweet)

As fears grow over whether or not the Knicks can sign Kevin Durant in free agency this summer, they could pursue Hornets guard Kemba Walker. 

According to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, the Knicks, Mavericks and Lakers are going to be very interested in Walker if the Hornets decide not to at least give him a fifth year in a super max contract worth $221 million. 

Wojnarowski notes that the Hornets could be shifting toward a rebuild if they decide against re-signing Walker. 

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Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant celebrates against the Houston Rockets during the second quarter in Game 2 of the second round of the 2019 NBA Playoffs at Oracle Arena. (Kyle Terada/USA TODAY Sports)
Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant celebrates against the Houston Rockets during the second quarter in Game 2 of the second round of the 2019 NBA Playoffs at Oracle Arena. (Kyle Terada/USA TODAY Sports)

Kevin Durant's Achilles injury has potentially thrown a huge wrench into his free agency and the Knicks' plans, but that hasn't strongly impacted the odds of him ending up with the Knicks  -- at least not yet.

According to Odds Shark, the Knicks still have the best odds.

The list:

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Durant injury impact on Knicks 00:02:04
SNY Insider Ian Begley explains impact of Warriors forward Kevin Durant's injury has on Knicks and their pursuit of Raptors Kawhi Leonard.

No matter who you root for or where your interests lie, if you're an NBA fan, you feel terribly for Kevin Durant today.

The two-time Finals MVP suffered an Achillies injury in Game 5 of the NBA Finals on Monday and ESPN reported that Golden State fears Durant's Achillies is torn.

Durant returned to the court for Monday's elimination game after missing nearly five weeks with a calf injury. He scored 11 points in his first 12 minutes on the floor, but went down early in the second quarter after an attempted drive, grabbing his calf. The 30-year-old suffered an injury that, depending on the severity, could have wide-ranging implications for the Knicks, Nets and the rest of the league.

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Ian Begley, SNY.tv Twitter |

Mid-range DeMar DeRozan. James Worthy in transition. Joe Ingles-like IQ.

Scouts invoked the names of these players and others when talking about potential pro player comparisons for presumptive No. 3 pick RJ Barrett.

Barrett worked out for New York on Monday and said he hopes the club drafts him. He's the most likely target for the Knicks, if they keep the pick.

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Recording artist Drake reacts with Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant after an apparent injury during the second quarter against the Toronto Raptors in Game 5 of the 2019 NBA Finals at Scotiabank Arena. (Kyle Terada/USA TODAY Sports)
Recording artist Drake reacts with Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant after an apparent injury during the second quarter against the Toronto Raptors in Game 5 of the 2019 NBA Finals at Scotiabank Arena. (Kyle Terada/USA TODAY Sports)

Kevin Durant's future just became pretty bleak.  

Warriors GM Bob Myers announced that the All-Star forward has an Achilles injury and will undergo an MRI on Tuesday to find out the severity. According to ESPN's Ramona Shelburne, the Warriors believe that the MRI will confirm an Achilles tendon tear. 

Myers certainly appeared to be devastated by the injury following the Warriors' Game 5 victory. The GM struggled to keep his emotions in check, breaking down into tears and placing the blame on himself for the injury. 

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Mar 4, 2019; Salt Lake City, UT, USA; New Orleans Pelicans forward Anthony Davis (23) dribbles the ball during the first half against the Utah Jazz at Vivint Smart Home Arena. Mandatory Credit: Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports (Russell Isabella)
Mar 4, 2019; Salt Lake City, UT, USA; New Orleans Pelicans forward Anthony Davis (23) dribbles the ball during the first half against the Utah Jazz at Vivint Smart Home Arena. Mandatory Credit: Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports (Russell Isabella)

Anthony Davis is reportedly down to just two teams he wishes to be traded to, and the Knicks have made the cut, per The Athletic's Shams Charania.

Back in February, Davis had given the Pelicans a four-team list of teams he wanted to be traded to in the Knicks, Lakers, Clippers and Bucks. However, sources are telling Charania that the Knicks and Lakers are the only two teams on that list now. However, Davis and his team have not presented a formal list to new EVP of Basketball Operations David Griffin

If the report is true, this would eliminate the Nets and Celtics as potential landing spots for the versatile All-Star center.

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RJ Barrett or Anthony Davis? 00:00:47
Anthony Davis said he considers the Knicks a team he'd like to go to. Would the Knicks definitely have to trade Barrett for Davis?

Ian Begley, SNY.tv Twitter |

RJ Barrett isn't working out or meeting for any team other than the Knicks before the NBA Draft on June 20.

"This is the place I want to be. I hope they draft me," Barrett said after working out for New York on Monday.

Barrett, an 18-year-old freshman from Duke, will likely be available for the Knicks when they select third on draft night. And he's confident that he can handle the pressure that comes with playing in the Big Apple.

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RJ Barrett speaks after workout 00:00:50
RJ Barrett spoke after his workout and spoke about his desire to join the Knicks and added it's the only team he's working out for.

Plain and simple: R.J. Barrett wants to be a New York Knick. 

The Duke standout worked out for the team on Monday, and afterward noted that The Mecca is where he wants to begin his NBA career. 

"This is the place I want to be, so I hope they draft me," Barrett told reporters after the workout session. 

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 (Charles LeClaire)
(Charles LeClaire)

A UConn legend and former New York Liberty player in Swin Cash has reportedly secured a senior front-office position with the New Orleans Pelicans, according to ESPN's Zach Lowe.

Lowe has the official title for Cash being the vice president of basketball operations and team development, which has the duties of guiding player development and scouting among others. 

The Pelicans have been revamping their front office, with new president of basketball operations David Griffin leading the way. Griffin has also brought in Trajan Langdon to be the team's new GM. 

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New Orleans Pelicans forward Anthony Davis reacts against the Phoenix Suns in the second half at Talking Stick Resort Arena. (Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports)
New Orleans Pelicans forward Anthony Davis reacts against the Phoenix Suns in the second half at Talking Stick Resort Arena. (Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports)

The upcoming offseason is already being referred to as the most important in New York Knicks history, potentially carrying enough star power to turn the franchise around almost overnight.

They'll be competing against the recruitment efforts of many other teams in the NBA, though they're part of a select few targeting one specific prize: Anthony Davis. He won't re-sign with the majority of the league, and the New Orleans Pelicans are looking for a big return. The Knicks would have to outbid several teams in order to land The Brow.

But first, what do the Knicks have to offer?

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Knicks rookie Kevin Knox (Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports)
Knicks rookie Kevin Knox (Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports)

Whichever player the Knicks select with the No. 3 overall pick in this year's NBA Draft will inevitably be linked to Kevin Knox one way or another. 

Knox, who the Knicks took ninth overall a year ago, has a pretty good idea of who he'd like that to be: RJ Barrett

"That's my guy -- I played against him a couple of times in high school,'' Knox told the New York Post. "He's a great player. If I can get a chance to play with him, it would be a great opportunity.''

Tags: Kevin Knox
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Charlotte Hornets guard Kemba Walker reacts in the third quarter after a 3-pointer against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden. (Catalina Fragoso/USA TODAY Sports)
Charlotte Hornets guard Kemba Walker reacts in the third quarter after a 3-pointer against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden. (Catalina Fragoso/USA TODAY Sports)

Ian Begley, SNY.tv Twitter |

If Kyrie Irving ends up in Brooklyn, as some execs from teams pursuing him expect, the Knicks will have to look elsewhere for a potential second star to pair with Kevin Durant

The best-case scenario, of course, would be a trade with New Orleans for Anthony Davis. The Knicks would likely have to surrender significant assets - including the No. 3 pick and future first-rounders - to land Davis. But his presence would make New York all the more attractive to potential free agents like Durant. 

Of course, the Knicks could also pursue other guards/forwards in the free agent class to entice a player like Durant to the Garden. 

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May 17, 2019; Chicago, IL, USA; Tacko Fall participates during day two of the NBA Draft Combine at Quest Multisport Complex. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports (David Banks)
May 17, 2019; Chicago, IL, USA; Tacko Fall participates during day two of the NBA Draft Combine at Quest Multisport Complex. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports (David Banks)

Ian Begley, SNY.tv Twitter |

Tacko Fall, a 7-7 big man from UCF, was among the players who worked out for the Knicks on Friday. Duke big man Marques Bolden also worked out for the club.

Fall is an intriguing prospect for New York, which owns the No. 55 pick.

He has impressed teams with his ability to cover ground at his size in workouts, including in Friday's with the Knicks.

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Ian Begley, SNY.tv Twitter |

One of the most important drafts in Knicks history is two weeks away. If it goes the way most assume it will, RJ Barrett will be on the board for New York at No. 3. Barrett, a 6-8 forward from Duke, is a tantalizing prospect. He averaged 22.6 points, 4.3 assists and 7.6 rebounds as a freshman -- the first player in NCAA history to have at least 850 points, 250 rebounds and 150 assists in a season. But, like all 18-year-olds, Barrett isn't perfect.

With that in mind, we talked to a few scouts and talent evaluators and asked them to share some of Barrett's strengths and weaknesses.

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What the Nets trade means for KD 00:00:48
Ian Begley breaks down what the Nets trade means for Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant and the New York Knicks. Who can the Nets sign now?

The Knicks-Nets rivalry is back on. Tipoff of their next matchup is at 6 PM on June 30 - the start of NBA free agency.

Brooklyn's trade with the Hawks on Thursday puts them in position to battle with New York for top free agents this summer. 

The Nets dealt Allen Crabbe, the No. 17 pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, and a lottery-protected first round pick in 2020 for SF Taurean Prince and a 2021 second-round pick, SNY sources confirmed.

The deal, which was first reported by ESPN, leaves the Nets with enough cap space to sign one max free agent -- and a clear path to create enough money to sign a second max star. The Nets will have $46 million in cap space and can create enough space to sign two max free agents if they rescind their rights to point guard D'Angelo Russell and make a few other minor moves.

Tags: Allen Crabbe
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Jun 5, 2019; Oakland, CA, USA; Toronto Raptors forward Kawhi Leonard (2) shoots the ball against Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry (30) in game three of the 2019 NBA Finals at Oracle Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports (Kyle Terada)
Jun 5, 2019; Oakland, CA, USA; Toronto Raptors forward Kawhi Leonard (2) shoots the ball against Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry (30) in game three of the 2019 NBA Finals at Oracle Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports (Kyle Terada)

A few young Knicks and coaches plan to attend the next two NBA Finals games. 

Mitchell Robinson plans to attend Game 5 of Raptors-Warriors with assistant coach Pat Sullivan, per SNY sources. And Kevin Knox, Kadeem Allen, and Allonzo Trier plan to attend Game 4 of the Finals on Friday night, a source confirmed to SNY. 

Last year, David Fizdale brought Emmanuel Mudiay, Damyean Dotson, and Frank Ntilikina to a Celtics-Cavs playoff game. He wanted to show them the atmosphere of playoff basketball. After the season, he said he intended to do the same with the young Knicks from the 2018-19 team. 

Tags: Allonzo Trier, Emmanuel Mudiay, Frank Ntilikina, Kevin Knox, Mitchell Robinson, Ian Begley
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NBA Draft season is upon us, and the Knicks were awarded the No. 3 overall pick following the NBA Draft Lottery. As June 20 approaches to them being on the clock, here is the latest about the top prospects in this year's Draft class as it pertains to the Knicks...


June 6, 10:51 AM:

The Knicks' college visits continue this week, as SNY's Ian Begley is hearing Lousiville F VJ King is scheduled for his workout with the team on Friday. 

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Duke Blue Devils forward R.J. Barrett reacts during the second half against the Wake Forest Demon Deacons at Cameron Indoor Stadium. (Rob Kinnan/USA TODAY Sports)
Duke Blue Devils forward R.J. Barrett reacts during the second half against the Wake Forest Demon Deacons at Cameron Indoor Stadium. (Rob Kinnan/USA TODAY Sports)

The Knicks have a multitude of options in this year's NBA Draft, but their choice can't be made in a vacuum. Their broader rebuild plan will be a factor in which prospect(s) they decide to bet on -- namely the free agent bonanza beginning on July 1.

The dream scenario for the franchise is picking up two superstar-level players, with the popular pairing being Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. If the Knicks are to end up signing the two -- perhaps a tall task at the moment with rumblings that Irving is leaning toward the Nets -- which rookie would be the best fit for a squad led by those elite talents?

RJ Barrett

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