ESPN reports Knicks may want to trade back from #3 in the draft
Going against the grain, I proposed that the Memphis pick conveying to Boston would be a good thing if it landed at the #9 or #10 spots (top-8 protected). My argument was that Danny Ainge might use that "bird in the hand" quite nicely on draft night. Well, it ended up at the expected #2 slot, going to the Grizzlies - and now we have reports that New York may want to trade back in the draft.
A translation of "pieces that better complement potential high-volume All-Star free agents" found in the quote below would be "role players at lower money". Kevin Durant and/or Kyrie Irving won't come cheap, and neither would Anthony Davis, and the Knicks are definitely on the hunt for superstars (per ESPN's Jonathan Givony and Mike Schmitz):
New York has explored the possibility of trading back in the lottery, sources told ESPN, perhaps to acquire pieces that better complement potential high-volume All-Star free agents (such as Kevin Durant or Kyrie Irving). Trading the No. 3 pick for the Atlanta Hawks' two first-rounders (Nos. 8 and 10) is under consideration by the Knicks, one source said. This is a similar package to the one Dallas used to move up in last year's draft -- trading the No. 5 pick and a top-five protected pick (which ended up being No. 10) to select Luka Doncic at No. 3. A move like this likely wouldn't happen until the draft was actually underway, as both teams would want to know which players are actually available with the No. 8 pick before consummating a trade.
Right now R. J. Barrett is projected by most analysts to go to the Knicks with the third pick. My feeling is that Barrett's size (6'7" and 210 pounds) and skills would translate well to the NBA. And there is some possibility that Ja Morant may still be around at number-3. Ainge will be very limited on making deals on draft night, with only picks #14, 20 and 22 in hand. but he has other options. He still has the Memphis pick, top-6 protected in 2020 and unprotected in 2021. And player trades are always a possibility with Danny.
Ainge, despite all of his successes with Boston, has not scored well with mid-round draft picks. But he is always in the fight on draft night - waiting for other GM's to make a mistake - a player to slide - or an opportunity to present itself. June 20th will be intriguing.