Knicks Looking to Trade Into the Top-3 of the 2021 NBA Draft: Report

NBA Draft

Getty The first round draft board is seen during the 2019 NBA Draft at the Barclays Center on June 20, 2019.

With the 2021 NBA Draft just two days away, the league-wide rumor mill is hard at work, and perhaps no team is being mentioned more than the New York Knicks.

Leon Rose and the front office are open for business, with two first-round picks (19,21) in Thursday’s draft.

As Marc Berman of the New York Post reported last month, there’s hope that they’ll be able to package those picks in a deal that takes them up into the lottery:

They have two first-round picks (19 and 21) and two second-rounders (32, 58). Chief strategist Brock Aller will look to deal picks and money to move into the lottery, according to sources.

But one recent report suggests that the New York Knicks may have their eyes on an even bigger prize.

Scotto: Knicks Have Called Cavaliers About Pick #3

In his latest reporting for HoopsyHype, Michael Scotto touched on all the latest buzz around the NBA.

The New York Knicks were quickly mentioned, but in a surprising fashion:

Several teams have called the Cavaliers to gauge the price tag for the third overall pick, including the Toronto Raptors, Oklahoma City Thunder, Golden State Warriors, and New York Knicks.

Fans have heard a number of times over the last few weeks about a potential trade into the late lottery, but nothing as ambitious as the top-three.

If what Scotto’s reporting is true then the Knicks could be preparing for a draft-altering trade on Thursday.

But questions remain: How? For Who?

Who Could New York Be Targeting?

As of Tuesday evening, few things seem more certain than Cade Cunningham and Jalen Green going first and second overall in Thursday night’s draft.

After that, big man Evan Mobley leads the pack for potential names to watch at third.

The freshman center averaged 16.4 points, 8.7 rebounds, and 2.9 blocks for the USC Trojans last season.

Is that who New York’s targeting?

For reference, the Cleveland Cavaliers are interested in playing Mobley next to big man Jarrett Allen should they land him in this year’s draft.

But with All-Star forward Julius Randle and Mitchell Robinson manning the Knicks frontcourt, it’s hard to see them following the same train of thought.

Perhaps they’re interested in Gonzaga guard Jalen Suggs.

The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor has compared him to Brandon Roy, Chauncey Billups, and Jamal Murray.

Regardless of whether it’s either of those two or a dark horse, it’s still uncertain they could convince the Cleveland Cavaliers to part ways with the top-three selection.

What Do the Knicks Have That Would Interest the Cavaliers?

I anticipate that any conversations between Cleveland and New York regarding the third overall pick stemmed from a potential salary dump involving five-time All-Star big Kevin Love.

The 32-year old has played just 103 out of 229 possible games over the last three seasons and is owed nearly $60-million guaranteed over the next two years.

The Knicks could have offered to take on Love’s salary in exchange for the third overall pick, to which the Cavaliers would have likely hung up the phone emphatically and promptly.

Otherwise, it’s hard to see a deal between these two teams that involves the third overall pick, largely given the New York Knicks first-round picks being so late at 19th and 21st overall.

But if the Cleveland Cavaliers are truly taking calls, it doesn’t surprise to hear they reached out.

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