Knicks Notes: Cauley-Stein, Russell, Mudiay

The consensus among executives, agents and scouts around the league is that the Knicks will actively seek to trade the No. 4 overall pick for a veteran, reports Frank Isola of the New York Daily News. Still, Marc Berman of the New York Post finds consensus among execs who say the Knicks will ultimately decide to keep it. One of those execs who spoke with Berman described the notion of the Knicks talking to other teams about trading the pick as a matter of due diligence. Team sources tell Berman that the Knicks don’t consider trading down a priority, but if they do move to a lower pick, they’d like to receive a 2016 first-rounder in return, Berman adds. Here’s more from New York:

  • Isola sees signs that point to Willie Cauley-Stein as the team’s target, noting Cauley-Stein fits the description of sort of defender team president Phil Jackson wants and that Jackson has told confidants that he likes the Kentucky center. Some people within the Knicks “absolutely love” D’Angelo Russell, a league source told Ian Begley of, but the Sixers, who pick third, also seem enamored with him, leaving Emmanuel Mudiay as the next best choice, many scouts and draft experts say, as Begley writes.
  • Mudiay’s ability to get to the line would help the Knicks, who ranked last in the league in free throw rate this past season, but his tendency to ball-watch on defense is a trait some Knicks already share, as Chris Herring of The Wall-Street Journal examines.
  • GM Steve Mills said after the lottery that whomever the Knicks draft will have a “big impact” on the free agents the team targets, Begley observes in a separate piece. Mills also made a remark indicating that the team’s belief about which free agents will be most obtainable will affect the club’s draft decision, as Begley relays. “We’ll look at what kind of guys we think are going to move in free agency and have our draft plans accordingly,” Mills said.

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