Sources: Knicks continue to explore ways to trade up in 2021 NBA Draft

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Knicks president Leon Rose Treated Art
Knicks president Leon Rose Treated Art

A few notes on the NBA Draft and free agency:

The Knicks have explored opportunities to move up in Thursday’s Draft. They currently have the No. 19 and No. 21 picks in the first round and the No. 32 and No. 58 picks in the second round.

They have worked out several players who are projected to be taken ahead of the No. 19 pick, including Oregon’s Chris Duarte. Duarte had a solo workout for the Knicks last Friday.

Agents with players projected to be taken in the lottery expect New York to continue to pursue opportunities to trade up in the coming days.

The Knicks, of course, could also use their picks in a trade for a veteran player. As of late last week, New York and many other teams around the league were waiting to see if Portland’s Damian Lillard would request a trade prior to the draft.

Lillard publicly urged the Blazers to be more aggressive in their pursuit of a championship and said he was undecided about his future in Portland.

If Lillard requests a trade, New York would obviously have interest. That trade request would change the landscape of the offseason. So would a Bradley Beal trade request.

The first big free agent domino will be Kawhi Leonard. If Leonard decides to leave the Clippers, it would alter the free agency plans of several teams.

As is always the case this time of year, teams have been talking about potential trades.

The Pelicans and Pacers recently touched base to discuss potential deals and Myles Turner’s name came up in talks. It’s unclear if those talks reached an advanced stage, but Turner has drawn interest from several teams. The Ringer reported that Golden State and Indiana had discussed Turner in a potential trade recently.

Regarding the Pelicans, opposing teams expect New Orleans to explore ways to shed salary in pursuit of a veteran. Kyle Lowry is one player on New Orleans’ radar, sources confirm.

One other note on the draft: Duarte and Kentucky’s Isaiah Jackson are among a large group of players on New York’s radar entering draft week.