The Knicks and Pistons’ opposing approaches seem to favor Detroit

The New York Knicks and the Detroit Pistons deal with and do mostly with each other, but the choices the two made represent a real departure from team building. While the choice between a quick fix and a slow and steady rebuilding is never quite what it seems, in this case, the discrepancies in the two approaches – culminating in multiple trades last week to enable New York to do so. Dallas guard Jalen Bronson is signed to free agency – it couldn’t be more clear.

From a 10,000-foot perspective, free agency often splits into two approaches. The first is the most aggressive and poisonous strategy. It’s all too easy to fall into the frenzy of NBA transaction season: focus early on certain goals, gradually move target points over the rate that would be acceptable, and then jump with both feet as the second free agency kicks in. Before you know it, you’ve submitted multiple draft picks and committed to a nine-figure deal to sign a not-so-all-star deal for a deal that’s nearing the limit. (Of course, this is probably not as bad as commit Full of Max to sign for Not the All-Stars of the Dallas Mavericks, but enough about my personal life.)

Alternatively, the team can put their hands to their ears and avoid getting bogged down in the game, keeping their powder dry for potentially more fruitful future opportunities. Of course, this strategy only works for a long time. Not only can you accumulate assets and max space forever; At some point, you have to spend money on Somebody.

Often there is no perfect answer, but it is clear that the Knicks are in the first group, and the Pistons are in the second.

Nicks decided Bronson was that guy worth paying for, and that doesn’t mean they can admit it out loud just yet. (This part comes on Thursday.) But the player who some thought might do it, Canwhich is approaching $ 20 million annually in March is now preparing to acquire Four-year deal of over $100 million From the Knicks…after the Pistons, who were widely believed to be among the most likely suitors, absolved themselves of that chase (plus Deandre Ayton’s pursuit) and decided to wait another year.

At first glance, Nix’s quest seems to make sense. New York needed a guard, and Bronson was realistically the best goalkeeper available. On a straight valuation basis, my $BORD equation makes it equal $30 million for 2022-23. it is good.

On the other hand, can we pull the camera back a bit and try to look longer than one season? The Knicks won 37 games last season and doesn’t have a tent pole star, unless you think Julius Randle is going to run again for months on a contested 22 feet. New York has some fairly good young players, and none of them seem likely to get into the All-Star Game; And some veterans, including Randall and Derek Rose are the only ones who have played in the past All-Star game and none of them will ever play in the future.

It’s possible that they were a below average team without Bronson, and maybe a slightly above average team with him. In either scenario, they have absolutely no chance of competing for anything important.

This is especially true given Bronson’s questionable fit with the rest of the Knicks. It’s one thing glimmering in the paint for floats, up, and down as Dallas’s four 3-point shooters line up around the perimeter; It’s quite another to do that in the squad with Randall, RJ Barrett and Mitchell Robinson as three of the other four players. Bronson ranks as a $30 million player based on what he did in Dallas; How that translates into this list and Tom Thibodeau’s crime is largely an open question.

So on any horizon extending beyond next week’s press conference, this was the wrong player and the wrong moment for New York. For starters, if you’re going to dive into the free agent market and don’t already have a marquee player, go from high diving and not the edge of the pool. Bronson is really good but he is not a player to change the franchise. Knicks was entering much of the cover room in the seemingly more abundant free-agent market in 2023; Even after paying Barrett and Robinson (whose league insiders suspect they’ll return to the Knicks in a multi-year deal somewhere in their mid-teens), the Knicks only needed to dismiss options on Derek Rose, Alec Burks and Neerlence Noel for a healthy life. Packet of the room.

Instead, in order to jump the gun and enter the 2022 market, New York needed to shed its first driver in 2022 and push the Pistons to take over Burkes, Noel, Kemba Walker; The Knicks got a good price on their first dump (three future firsts less valuable than those they gave up, but more in total) but then paid lavishly to dump Walker in Detroit: four future second rounds and one surrender of the first to pick a lower future.

Clearly the Knicks would have been better off dropping Noel and Burkes in Detroit, reportedly paying six million in cash, bringing back Detroit again 2023 and adding a “fake second” from Miami which ranks 55th protected. (Either it won’t transfer at all, or it will transfer as an ability to forge another balsa cuprifica.)

In total, the Knicks have given up five future seconds and maximum cash allowed in trades for this year, not to mention a 2025 second-round pick that they could lose once the league starts asking questions about how that might happen days before free agency begins. It was all in order to be able to pay Bronson and join a team that has absolutely no championship credits.

Isn’t that a little… lame? I mean, we’re expecting these seven-ranked things maybe from the Washington Wizards or the New Orleans Hornets, but that’s the Knicks! Don’t they have enough free gravity to get a real star in 2023? Or, maybe, more likely, to trade with a bunch of expired contracts they’ve been taking this season?

Indeed, one strange twist in this saga is that the Knicks’ 2021 season has already been blown to bits, as it pushed New York to offload three of its five critical contracts and only failed to offload one of the others (Evan Fournier) after a somewhat coordinated effort. . Eleven months ago, it seemed like the whole idea was that these deals ending in 2023 might end with commercial chops for a big star; Instead, they paid a second time to get rid of them. At least they still have the Rundle extension.

As for Detroit, one could argue that he could have driven a much tougher deal with the Knicks in the Burks-Noel package, but let’s pay tribute to the Pistons’ patience here. They weren’t cheated by participating in the Play-In competition next year and instead traded with Jerami Grant, took some unwanted money and walked away from the draft by choosing a second lottery for big man Jalen Duren. (Detroit took him 13th, but I heard he was playing with them in 5th.)

You might ask what the team is doing with a roster of Cade Cunningham and 43 centers, but the potential payoff from Detroit’s approach is huge.

Have you ever heard the old saying “To the victor goes the spoils?” Well, this year it’s more like, “Spoilers set off Victor.”

With French prodigy Victor Wimpanyama the unanimous No. 1 pick, and in some eyes a generational talent, already underrated teams have added incentive to be terrible this season. The Pistons sidestepped the idea of ​​chasing down Bronson’s inflated number (and, for that matter, Ayton and Miles Bridges) to spend another year accumulating assets and truly rebuilding. The Pistons could also have upwards of $60 million in cover room annually from now and possibly a subscription-worthy core to join.

So, in the short term, don’t worry about the fact that Doreen, Kelly Olynyk, Isaiah Stewart, Noel and Marvin Bagley are on the same team; At some point, they will definitely trade a pair of them. (Random tech: Detroit will need to remove its $28 million cap on Bagley before completing the trade with Burks and Noel, likely by re-signing him for a much lower figure.)

Birx isn’t good enough to win many Detroit games, but if he proves he’s recovered from his recent foot surgery, he could score it another second in the trade deadline. Yes, the Pistons will re-sign Bagley, give the keys to Cunningham and see what happens with Doreen, Stewart, Bey’s friend and some other young players they love; They’re not exactly excited, but they aren’t Not tanks either. Incidentally, the Pistons still have some spare room to take in more junk deals even after doing all this (from $12 million to $15 million or so, depending on Bagley’s price); Keep an eye on Danilo Galinari, who they can get and then give up before the Knicks deal is executed.

This takes us to the final piece here: Knicks may not be done, and this deal could still look different. Right now, we’re in a strange state of suspended animation where teams can approve deals but can’t actually execute for another week, meaning that “completed” deals can be combined after the fact into completely different productions.

For example, the Mavericks could create a trading exception for half of Bronson’s salary in the first year (likely around $12.5 million, if the whisper figure for a four-year $105 million deal is correct), provided they agree to a tick-and-trade with the Knicks .

It just so happens that signing and trading is likely to be in the Knicks’ favour, too, especially if they can hook the pistons into it. Detroit darling could send Koprivica to Dallas to complete the triangle in the trade, and the three sides would have to bargain for other small incentives to make it a bigger deal.

If they succeed, the Knicks could operate as an “over the line” team and maintain the non-taxpayer mid-level exemption to sign another player. They can also create a $9.2 million trade exception for either Walker or Noel as long as Bronson’s 2022-23 salary is no more than $24.2 million – which would exceed his total deal at $105.8 million. (Instead of exception, they can also stuff so far else Team in the trade to recover a deal worth up to $14.2 million, possibly in signing and trading after the start of the free agency. This can get foolish, ye.)

While we’re here, what if New York truly Do you want to fully immerse yourself in unfamiliar stars without much photography? Can they get into the Dejounte Murray hunt with the matching contracts of Cam Reddish, Taj Gibson, Miles McBride and the future top four from other teams they still have, not to mention their own? I’ll leave that idle thought here while the comment section burns to the floor.

What’s funny is that the Knicks were so much better about the details of hat tricks like the ones above in the Lion Rose era, beating the sidelines on many of their trades and mastering some of the rather complicated trades. Sometimes pistons left money on the table in the same cases.

However, take a step back and look at the bigger picture and ask whose future you would prefer. There’s a good chance the Knicks will be halfway this year and the Pistons will stink, but on any longer horizon, the big-picture Detroit decision tree looks a lot tougher than the New York one.


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(Photo by Galen Bronson: Mark J. Rebelas/USA Today)

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