Raptors-Knicks Trade Stalls Over Bruce Brown

Trade talks stumble over future draft pick preferences.

by Nouman Rasool
Raptors-Knicks Trade Stalls Over Bruce Brown
© Michael Reaves/Getty Images

The Toronto Raptors, a team already brimming with potential draft choices, find themselves at a crossroads in trade negotiations with the New York Knicks regarding Bruce Brown. As the Raptors' President Masai Ujiri emphasized last month, the prospect of integrating three, or possibly four, rookies in the upcoming season is not part of the team's strategic vision.

This stance emerges amidst Toronto potentially holding up to four picks in the 2024 draft, contingent upon the conditions of a top-six protected first-round pick owed to San Antonio.

Draft Picks Deadlock

The crux of the current deadlock with the Knicks hinges on the nature of the draft picks being discussed.

Sources, including Sportsnet’s Michael Grange, indicate that the Knicks have offered two first-round picks for the current year - their own and a top-10 protected pick from the Dallas Mavericks. However, Toronto's interest seems to lie beyond the immediate horizon, with their sights set on one of New York’s future first-round picks, particularly from the 2025 draft.

The Raptors' preference is reportedly angled towards either the Knicks' own pick or a top-four protected pick from the Bucks. New York, meanwhile, is reportedly reluctant to part with their future draft assets post-2024. The organization's strategy appears to be to preserve their "war chest" of future picks, keeping them flexible for potential trades in the years ahead.

This cautious approach is further complicated by the Knicks' possession of several other future picks from the Detroit Pistons and Washington Wizards, which are entangled in complex and heavy protections, rendering their conveyance as first-round picks uncertain and potentially delayed.

Should a trade agreement be reached between the Raptors and Knicks, it's likely to involve Evan Fournier as a salary-matching component for Brown. Fournier, 31, is on a $19 million team option for the next season, which the Raptors could choose to decline, potentially freeing up significant salary cap space for the summer.

This potential move underscores the strategic planning and foresight that both teams are exercising as they navigate the complexities of NBA trades and future team compositions.

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