Likely lottery selection Mohamed Bamba attended an in-person meeting in New York today with members of the Knicks’ organization, tweets Ian Begley of ESPN. Begley seems to opine that the meeting is an indication that the Knicks are considering trading up from the No. 9 pick in order to draft Bamba.
Jonathan Givony of ESPN has endorsed Begley’s report, adding that the Knicks are specifically exploring the option of trading up to the No. 4 spot in the draft, currently owned by the Grizzlies, with Memphis eager to shed the expensive contract of Chandler Parsons.
Despite the reports, it’s also certainly possible that the Knicks are simply conducting due diligence in the event that Bamba slips to them at No. 9, with Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders indicating yesterday that Bamba is a candidate to slip a little further than expected in tomorrow night’s draft.
In addition to the ninth selection, the Knicks enter the 2018 NBA draft with only one other pick – No. 36 overall – and the team doesn’t seem to have many other assets with whom they’d be willing to part, with both Kristaps Porzingis and Tim Hardaway Jr. unlikely to be moved for the opportunity to move a few spots higher in the draft to select an unknown, albeit gifted prospect.
Givony’s report seems to imply that the Grizzlies may be willing to trade the No. 4 pick for the No. 9 pick if it means ridding itself of Parsons’ contract, but that would be quite the indictment of Parsons given the breadth of talent at the top of this year’s draft.
Moreover, even if Enes Kanter and Kyle O’Quinn both opt out of their contracts, the Knicks would still likely need to return some salary to the Grizzlies in order to match the value of Parsons’ contract, since they’ll almost assuredly be operating over the cap upon the commencement of the new salary cap year absent any other moves.