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Knicks Trade Pitch Lands Ex-No. 2 Pick for Package Including Mitchell Robinson

Getty Mitchell Robinson #23 of the New York Knicks.

One of the NBA’s best small forwards — Brandon Ingram of the New Orleans Pelicans — is expected to become a trade candidate, making him a potential target of the New York Knicks, who, according to SNY’s Ian Begley, will “vigorously” pursue “a top player who fits the roster” if that player becomes available.

A Heavy Sports trade proposal would give the Knicks a complement to its core of young stars in exchange for draft picks.

Knicks get:

– SF Brandon Ingram

Pelicans get:

– SF Bojan Bogdanovic
– C Mitchell Robinson
– 2024 first-round pick (No. 24, via DAL)
– 2027 first-round pick

“ESPN and Yahoo have reported that the Knicks are looking to trade their first-round picks. This makes sense, given the organization’s recent history and the current state of the franchise,” Begley wrote on June 5. “New York, as we all know, will be aggressive in trade pursuits this offseason. If the Knicks have the chance to add a top player who fits the roster, they will go after that player vigorously.”

Ingram, 26, averaged 20.8 points, 5.7 assists and 5.1 rebounds this past season. He will be heading into the final year of a five-year, $158.2 million contract.

“A growing belief leaguewide that Pelicans will aggressively explore the trade market for Brandon Ingram before next season,” The Stein Line’s Marc Stein wrote on May 12 (subscription required). “A handful of Eastern Conference teams (Philadelphia, Cleveland, Atlanta and Orlando) have already been mentioned as potential trade suitors for Ingram.”

Knicks Can Make the Money Work in Potential Trade for Pelicans’ Brandon Ingram

Ingram, an All-Star in 2019-20 has a $36 million cap hit in 2024-25. It is a big number, but one that the Knicks can absorb and still fill out their roster.

This hypothetical trade proposal would leave the Knicks $20 million under the first luxury tax apron. That could be enough money to retain Isaiah Hartenstein, who could command nearly $100 million on his next contract in free agency this offseason.

Bogdanovic and Robinson carry a combined $33.3 million hit.

Bogdanovic, 35, has a $19 million cap hit next season in the final year of a two-year, $39 million contract.

Only $2 million of his 2024-25 salary is guaranteed until June 28, though. Before then, a team can waive him after acquiring him in a trade, freeing up $17 million in cap space. Bogdanovic made 29 appearances with the Knicks after the trade deadline.

He was knocked out of the postseason after four games due to injuries.

Mitchell Robinson’s Lack of Availability a Longstanding Issue

Parting with Robinson is a steep price. He is the Knicks’ defensive anchor. Still just 26 years old, Robinson is just hitting his prime years entering Year 3 of a four-year, $60 million contract.

However, Robinson has battled injuries throughout his career. He made 31 appearances last season, tying a career low. While he has played in half of the slated games in four of his six seasons, Robinson has made at least 65 appearances just twice.

The last time was in 2021-22 when he set a career-high logging 72 games.

Before that, Robinson’s high was 66 games, which he set as a rookie in 2018-19. Robinson appeared in 61 games in 2019-20 and 59 in 2022-23.

The Knicks had the seventh-best offensive rating and ninth-best defensive rating during the regular season, per NBA.com.

Their defense did them little good in the playoffs, though. It faltered to 15th in the 16-team field even as the Knicks’ offense was the postseason’s third-best.

Conventional wisdom would suggest bolstering their defense would be a wise choice.

However, the offense overachieved and Jalen Brunson shouldered a heavy burden. Julius Randle’s return to health will help. Adding New Orleans Pelicans star Brandon Ingram would do more.

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A Heavy Sports trade proposal would send Pelicans star Brandon Ingram to the New York Knicks for two first-round picks and two players.