Knicks acquire Mikal Bridges in blockbuster deal with Nets

By Sports Desk June 25, 2024

The New York Knicks have agreed to a trade that would have coveted forward Mikal Bridges playing in Madison Square Garden next season, multiple media outlets reported Tuesday.

The Knicks reportedly acquired Bridges for a king’s ransom, with Bojan Bogdanovic, four unprotected first-round draft picks and a protected first-round pick via the Milwaukee Bucks headed to the Brooklyn Nets in return.

News of the trade broke a day before the first round of the 2024 NBA Draft, as the Knicks continued to add talent around All-NBA Second Team guard Jalen Brunson.

Bridges, 27, has two seasons left on the four-year, $90.9million rookie extension he signed when he was with the Phoenix Suns, and the Nets reportedly feared that he may leave for nothing if he reached free agency.

A six-year veteran, Bridges averaged 19.6 points, 4.5 rebounds and 3.6 assists in 82 games last season in Brooklyn.

Bridges will reunite with former college teammates in Brunson, Donte DiVincenzo and Josh Hart as the Knicks continue to build a Villanova alumni club in their locker room.

A versatile two-way threat, Bridges is expected to bring secondary scoring and ball-handling on offence and could see plenty of open 3-point looks with defenses focusing on Brunson and Julius Randle.

Bridges is also the NBA’s active Iron Man with 474 consecutive games played, a welcome addition for a Knicks team that was devastated by injuries down the stretch last season.

The trade is not without risk for the Knicks, however.

In addition to the vast amount of draft capital sent to the Nets, Bridges’ addition casts doubt on New York’s ability to retain both OG Anunoby and Isaiah Hartenstein, who will be free agents on June 30.

Bridges is able to easily swing between guard and forward positions, but a frontcourt that included Randle, Anunoby, Hartenstein and Mitchell Robinson could be too crowded.

The Knicks gave up talented pieces in RJ Barrett and Immanuel Quickley to acquire Anunoby at last season’s deadline, but his skill-set could be somewhat redundant with Bridges on the roster.

If Knicks president Leon Rose is able to keep even one of Anunoby or Hartenstein, however, New York will add talent and depth to a team that won 50 games last season and broke down in the playoffs only after several key injuries.

The Nets will almost certainly take a step back after losing last season’s leading scorer, but the trade helps replenish the franchise’s arsenal of future assets that was diminished by acquiring James Harden in 2021.

With early reports touting the 2025 draft class as deep in high-level talent, Brooklyn turned its focus away from the 2024-25 season and toward the future.

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