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NBA free agency 2022: Knicks trading Nerlens Noel, Alec Burks to Pistons ahead of free agency, per report

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The New York Knicks, it seems, really want Jalen Brunson. The Knicks traded center Nerlens Noel and guard Alec Burks to the Detroit Pistons on Tuesday night, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowksi. That move will free $19 million in salary for the Knicks.

The Knicks also sent Detroit a 2023 and 2024 second-round draft pick as part of the deal, and $6 million in cash. It’s unclear what the Knicks will get in return from Detroit.

Burks averaged 11.7 points and 4.9 rebounds per game last season, his second with the Knicks. Detroit will mark the seventh team for Burks in five seasons. The 30-year-old has two years left on his three-year, $30 million deal.

Noel averaged 3.4 points and 5.6 rebounds in 25 games last season, his second in New York. The 28-year-old missed a big chunk of the season with a lingering foot injury. Noel has two years left on his three-year, $27.7 million deal.

The move was one of several that the Pistons made on Tuesday. The team opted not to pick up second year options for Frank Jackson, Luka Garza and Carsen Edwards. They did pick up Hamidou Diallo’s team option.

Knicks clear space for expected Jalen Brunson deal

The Knicks have been angling for Brunson, who is set to become a free agent on Thursday, in recent weeks — especially after Brunson’s dad, Rick Brunson, joined Tom Thibodeau’s staff as an assistant coach. The Knicks are expected to offer the Dallas Mavericks guard a four-year deal in the vicinity of $110 million once free agency starts, sources told Yahoo Sports' Chris Haynes.

Brunson averaged a career-high 16.8 points and 4.8 assists per game last season while helping the Mavericks reach the Western Conference finals. His play in the back half of the season elevated him into contention to land a major deal this offseason, something the Knicks now seem poised to give him.

Nerlens Noel of the New York Knicks
The Knicks sent Nerlens Noel and Alec Burks to the Pistons on Tuesday. (Jason Miller/Getty Images)