Knicks, Jazz Have Had Exploratory Talks About Beasley, Vanderbilt

The Knicks and Jazz have engaged in some exploratory conversations about a possible trade that would send wing Malik Beasley and forward Jarred Vanderbilt to New York, reports Michael Scotto of HoopsHype.

According to Scotto, the proposed deal would see Evan Fournier, Obi Toppin, and draft capital going to Utah.

As Scotto details, the specific draft assets going from the Knicks to the Jazz presumably represent the sticking point in the talks between the two teams. Utah has reportedly sought a first-round pick for Beasley and one for Vanderbilt as well.

Given that Fournier’s contract, which includes an $18.9MM guaranteed salary for 2023/24, is viewed as a negative asset, the Jazz may want another first-round pick for taking on that deal rather than simply considering him the salary-matching piece for Beasley. On the other hand, Toppin – the eighth overall pick in 2020 – should have positive value and could perhaps take the place of one of the first-rounders Utah is seeking, Scotto notes.

Of course, even if the Knicks and Jazz could agree on the number of first-round picks that would accompany Fournier and Toppin to Utah, the two teams may not see eye to eye on how those picks are protected.

New York controls several protected first-rounders from other teams, including Dallas’ 2023 pick (top-10 protected), Washington’s 2023 pick (top-14 protected), Detroit’s 2023 pick (top-18 protected), and Milwaukee’s 2025 pick (top-four protected). Of those selections, only Milwaukee’s has a chance to ultimately land in the top eight. The Knicks also have the ability to add protections to their own first-rounders if they’re willing to trade one or more of them.

However, CEO Danny Ainge made it a priority to stockpile unprotected first-round selections in his offseason trades involving Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell. Beasley and Vanderbilt don’t carry the same value as those two All-Stars, so Ainge won’t have as much leverage in this instance, but he’ll still be pushing to make the protections as light as possible on any pick he acquires.

Current Knicks executive Gersson Rosas signed both Beasley and Vanderbilt to their current contracts when he was the head of basketball operations in Minnesota. Led by president of basketball operations Leon Rose, New York had interest in Beasley before he re-signed with the Wolves in 2020, Scotto writes.

Beasley has reportedly drawn interest this season from teams like Cleveland, Atlanta, Phoenix and New Orleans in addition to New York.

As for Vanderbilt, Scotto has heard that the Pacers have interest in the fifth-year forward, previously named the Suns as a possible suitor, and confirms that the Trail Blazers are in the mix as well. Forward Nassir Little is a player to watch if Portland gets involved in trade talks with Utah, Scotto adds.

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