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The Donovan Mitchell trade is done, but the Knicks still need to do something with all these draft picks

Welcome to Layup Lines, our daily NBA newsletter where we’ll prep you for a tip-off of tonight’s action, from what to watch to bets to make. Subscribe here to get it delivered to your inbox every afternoon

What’s good, family? It’s Sykes here with another edition of Layup Lines. And, yes, I’m still stuck on the Knicks.

The Donovan Mitchell trade is done — he’s a Cleveland Cavalier now. They’re almost certainly going to be one of the top 6 teams in the Eastern Conference and have a legitimate shot at homecourt advantage in the playoffs.

But the biggest story here doesn’t feel like it’s what the Cavaliers did. Rather, it’s what the Knicks didn’t do.

For weeks now, the Jazz and Knicks have been flirting with each other surrounding a possible Mitchell trade. Everyone knew the Knicks had the assets to get it done. Everyone knew the Jazz wanted their plethora of picks.

We all just knew it was going to happen. But it didn’t. And Knicks fans everywhere —including Stephen A. Smith — are devastated.

But now it’s time to move on. It’s time to figure out what’s next. And the team has done a solid job of at least getting that started by extending RJ Barrett. But there’s still a large question looming ahead for New York. And that question is: What in the world are they going to do with all those draft picks?

New York currently has 7 1st round picks between the 2023 and 2025 NBA drafts. That’s a pretty good spot to be in, to be sure. But there’s absolutely no way they’re rostering that many 1st round picks over the next 3 years — especially not with 4 of them coming in 2023.

The Knicks are trying to compete. They want to make the playoffs and they want to be taken seriously. That’s why they extended Barrett. That’s why Tom Thibodeau is still their head coach.

Having 4 rookies on one roster resets their timeline and that’s not where they’re at. Not even close.

They didn’t make the Mitchell move, but they’re going to have to do something. It’s easy to say they can just wait for the next disgruntled superstar to come up, but that isn’t something that just happens. It’s not common practice. And, even when it does happen, there’s no guarantee the Knicks will be able to snag him.

They could flip the picks again. Just kick the can even further down the road as they continue to build this thing out. And that’s not a bad idea. But it doesn’t help the team get much better in the short term the way they seem to want it to.

There’s no easy answer here. But, all in all, it’s not a bad position to be in. They’ll just have to figure it out. Good luck to Knicks fans as they watch their team navigate through this all.

We know how patient they are.

The Tip-Off

Some NBA goodness from around the USA TODAY Sports network.

(AP Photo/Steven Senne)

Speaking of the Mitchell trade, man, the Jazz made off like some bandits. They’re in complete teardown mode, obviously, and they’re not done. There’s plenty more talent to ship out.

In the meantime, their cupboard is filled with a nice stockpile of draft picks and prospects, as my colleague, Bryan Kalbrosky, pointed out here.

“Not only do they have a ton of draft picks in their cupboard but they also have the opportunity to add to that by continuing to clean out their roster.

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski noted that Bojan Bogdanovic, Jordan Clarkson, and Mike Conley could all net more draft picks from contenders. Malik Beasley and Jarred Vanderbilt, both included in the trade for Gobert, could potentially get moved for more picks as well.”

Bryan also laid out all their assets over the next few years and it’s a ton. Go check it out. They’re really giving the Thunder a run for their money.


(AP Photo/Luca Bruno)

— Giannis Antetkounmpo pulled off one of the most absurd blocks you’ll see in Eurobasket.

— It seems Danilo Gallinari has torn his ACL, according to reports. What a bummer.

— Carmelo Anthony might be an option for the Celtics at forward to replace him.

— J Cole is really on the cover of a basketball game. What a time.

That’s all, folks! Enjoy the weekend.

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