Source: Knicks acquire Bridges from Nets in blockbuster deal (2024)

It has been teased and joked about, the subject veering close to tampering as the Knicks contingent of Villanova alums would not so secretively pursue Mikal Bridges. And Tuesday night it became reality.

A league source confirmed the Knicks and Nets agreed in principle on the first trade between the two franchises in more than 40 years as the Knicks acquired Bridges and the Nets 2025 second-round pick in exchange for Bojan Bogdanovic, four of their own unprotected first-round picks (2025, 2027, 2029 and 2031), the lightly-protected 2025 first-round pick the Knicks had from Milwaukee, a 2028 unprotected pick swap and a 2025 second-round pick. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski was first with the news.

Bridges, who played with Jalen Brunson, Josh Hart and Donte DiVincenzo at Villanova — and was one of the first guests on The Roommates Show podcast hosted by Hart and Brunson — was considered one of the building blocks of the Nets rebuilding efforts as they have long insisted they would not move him. And previously, they had rejected offers based on multiple first-round picks.

But according to an SNY report, Bridges pushed management to make the deal, making it clear that he wanted to reunite with his college teammates — a trio that he’d watched come together this season and guide the Knicks to the Eastern Conference semifinals before injuries derailed their postseason run.

For the Knicks, the picks represent a belief that they won’t be in the lottery anytime soon with the young core of a team which has been to the Eastern Conference semifinals two straight years and now with an upgrade..

As soon as the deal was broken on social media, Josh Hart posted on X, “Yo, we [expletive]lit.” Brunson chimed in with, “OMG.” And after Miami’s Bam Adebayo directed a comment to the pair, “Y’all was tampering,” they both joked that they should be allowed to celebrate in peace.

Bridges, 27, has two years remaining on his four-year, $90 million contract that he originally signed with the Phoenix Suns before joining the Nets in the deal that sent out Kevin Durant. He will be eligible for a contract extension before the start of next season — as will Brunson and Julius Randle.

While he brings the Knicks another excellent defensive wing as well as scoring nearly 20 points per game last season, he also is the most reliable player in the league — playing all 82 games last season and holding a streak of 461 consecutive games played.

While he may not be the star that some pictured for the Knicks use of the draft assets they had stored up, he is another player who seems to fit exactly what the Knicks are building. He is a two-way threat and a complementary player who can play without the ball in his hands.

For the Knicks, the work is hardly done this summer. Along with Wednesday’s draft in which the team still holds the No. 24, 25 and 38 picks, the Knicks have their own free agents to try to keep in the fold.

OG Anunoby opted out of the final year of his contract Monday and all indications are that the Knicks will try to come to an agreement with him on a new deal before Sunday night when he can begin talks with other teams. With Knicks team president Leon Rose’s son, Sam Rose, acting as one of his agents, the two sides have certainly had a common interest to get a deal done. After trading away foundational pieces in RJ Barrett and Immanuel Quickley to acquire Anunoby in midseason, even the addition of Bridges would make letting him walk with no return hard to take.

And Isaiah Hartenstein is an unrestricted free agent, too, with the team only able to provide him with a four-year, $72.5 million deal — a figure that other teams can exceed.

The move does put the Knicks in an onerous position with their salary cap. By including Bogdanovic’s $19.9 million (non-guaranteed) contract in exchange for the $23.3 million due to Bridges in the upcoming season, taking back more salary than they are sending out, the Knicks will now be hard-capped at the first apron.

The Knicks were under the apron, but by sending out more salary prior to July 1 triggers the move to the first apron. Now, they will not be allowed to use a pre-existing trade exception or take back additional salary In a trade.

Rose’s front office has managed to keep the Knicks out of the luxury tax during his four years leading the franchise, but the Knicks are now reaching a new level. If they hit the second apron they would lose the ability to aggregate contracts sent out in a deal and trade cash in a deal.

Source: Knicks acquireBridges from Nets in blockbuster deal (1)

By Steve Popper

steve.popper@newsday.com

@StevePopper

Steve Popper covers the Knicks for Newsday. He has spent nearly three decades covering the Knicks and the NBA, along with just about every sports team in the New York metropolitan area.

Source: Knicks acquire Bridges from Nets in blockbuster deal (2024)
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