NBA Draft Rumors: Knicks & Hawks Trade Talks Show RJ Barrett No Lock at No. 3

RJ Barrett

Getty The Knicks could explore trading out of the No. 3 pick.

While we have been penciling in RJ Barrett to the Knicks, the latest trade rumor indicates the team is not entirely sold on the Duke swingman. The Knicks are exploring trade options with teams including the Hawks that would land them the No. 8 and No. 10 pick for No. 3, per ESPN’s Jonathan Givony.

“Are the Knicks a lock to draft RJ Barrett at No. 3? Not quite. They are definitely exploring a number of alternatives, for example the possibility of sliding back and acquiring the No. 8 and 10 picks from the Hawks,” Givony tweeted.

It would be an interesting trade for both teams. Atlanta gained an extra pick in this year’s draft by swapping selections with the Mavericks last year. The Hawks could be targeting Barrett in this trade, but another name to watch is his former Duke teammate Cam Reddish. Givony reported the two teams are unlikely to make a trade before draft night, just like what the Hawks did in 2018.

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.

If the Knicks Trade Down in the NBA Draft, Who Could They Target?

The Knicks would be trading down in a year that many are describing as a “three-person draft.” If the Knicks opt to make a deal, what players could they potentially be targeting? Givony reported that Reddish along with Jarrett Culver, Coby White and Nassir Little are all players that the Knicks could have interest in selecting if the team were to trade down.

It is important to emphasize that Givony also noted that Barrett is still the “clear choice” for the Knicks at No. 3. The draft is getting closer as we have our first major trade rumor of the year.

The Knicks Are Being Mentioned as a Potential Landing Spot for Anthony Davis

New Pelicans GM David Griffin met with Anthony Davis earlier this week to discuss his future. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that the Knicks are one of the top trade suitors for Davis, but the Pelicans are still trying to convince the big man to stay in New Orleans.

New Orleans could have eager trade suitors — the Los Angeles Lakers and Clippers, Boston Celtics and New York Knicks — should Griffin engage in trade talks, but so far that hasn’t happened, sources said. Griffin has been determined to make a case for Davis to stay.