Five takeaways from blockbuster Mikal Bridges to Knicks trade (2024)

The Knicks pushed all their chips into the middle of the table Tuesday, going all-in for another Villanova star — Mikal Bridges.

It’s a bold move, but does it change the balance of power in the East? Who are the winners and losers of this trade? Did the Knicks give up too much for a player who has never been an All-Star?

Here are five takeaways from the trade, which officially breaks down like this:

• The Knicks receive Bridges, a 2026 second-round pick.
• The Nets receive Bojan Bogdanovic, four unprotected first-round picks (the Knicks picks in 2025, 2027, 2029, 2031), the Bucks 2025 protected first-round pick (which the Knicks controlled), a 2028 pick swap, and a 2025 second-round pick.

Winner: Mikal Bridges

Bridges reportedly had been quietly pushing to get to New York and play with his former Villanova teammates — Jalen Brunson, Josh Hart and Donte DiVincenzo — for some time, but it seemed unlikely to happen. At the trade deadline and even through the start of the offseason, the Nets front office was letting other teams know they were not trading Bridges, the plan was to attract a star to go around him and Nic Claxton.

Reality finally caught up to Nets president Sean Marks and owner Joe Tsai and they came around to the rebuild idea (more on that later). Bridges becomes the winner of that realization because he doesn’t have to call in the moving vans but does jump to a contender in the East filled with friends and people he wants to play with. This is a hand-in-glove fit and it raises Bridges profile — he’s not the guy racking up numbers on a bad team, he’s going to be a crucial part of one of the top teams in the East, and that will get him All-Star level recognition.

This is the Knicks’ all-in move, there isn’t another

Five first-round picks for a non-All-Star?

The Knicks overpaid in this trade — five first-round picks is the haul a team gives up to get one of the league’s established, biggest stars. The Suns gave up four to get Durant out of Brooklyn (with Bridges, Cam Johnson who had been a first-round pick, and the fading Jae Crowder).

This was also absolutely the right move — this is how you go all in and go for it. No half measures.

— Josh Hart (@joshhart) June 26, 2024

Bridges is a perfect fit in New York, he is a high-level wing defender, can shoot the 3, is a secondary playmaker on offense and fits the gritty nature of the Knicks. And with Tom Thibodeau coaching, Bridges will get all the minutes he wants and then some.

New York has to re-sign OG Anunoby to make this work (they need two elite wing defenders). The Knicks also have to figure out backup center because with Bridges and a re-signed Anunoby on the books it becomes hard to afford re-signing Isaiah Hartenstein (they also need to keep Mitchell Robinson now).

This was the big move. There will be tweaks around the edges, but this is the core New York is betting can win a ring.

Knicks fans are quick to say they still have five first-round picks available after this trade, but as Brian Geltzeiler of NBA Radio points out, that dramatically overstates things. New York has two picks in the 20s today in this down draft year, they have two heavily protected picks that other teams have shown little interest in, and one they can’t trade because of the Stepien Rule. No more big trades are coming.

Knicks are contenders, but still step behind Celtics

The Knicks were technically the second-best team in the East last season — they were the No. 2 seed, although we didn’t get to see what a healthy New York could do in the playoffs. Despite that, this team never felt like a genuine threat to win a ring; they were a player away.

They are title contenders now… but with no margin for error. If healthy, this new roster is a team that can push the Boston Celtics, especially with Bridges and Anunoby on the wings to match up with Tatum and Brown.

If both teams are completely healthy, give me Boston. I’ll take a top three of Tatum, Brown and Jrue Holiday over Brunson, Bridges and Randle (and the Celtics fourth best player, Kristaps Porzingis, completes them). New York needs a little help.

So does everyone else. Luck plays into any title. New York is right there with Denver, Oklahoma City, Dallas and any other team you want to say is a contender out of the West — outstanding teams without much depth and no margin for error. Milwaukee and maybe Philadelphia (depending on its offseason) are in that mix, too.

The Knicks have a chance, so can we talk to Thibodeau about dialing back the regular season minutes just a little?

Brooklyn has picked a smart direction

This trade, plus the Nets trade with the Rockets to get control of their own 2025 and 2026 picks, sets the direction for the Nets — a total rebuild. It’s time now to trade everyone except maybe the young Cam Johnson and see what they can get back.

It’s the right move. This is the smart play. Jordi Fernandez is a development coach and can oversee the building out of a roster over the next few years that can start to climb the ladder in the East.

What Brooklyn has that the Knicks, Lakers, Heat and a few other teams might that most teams lack is free agents will come to them — the Nets are in New York. Players want to be there. Build up a solid core and, like a few years ago when Durant and Irving did it, stars will come to them to round out the roster.

This is the rare win-win trade

The Knicks made the right move going all-in with this roster to win now.

Brooklyn made the right call to start a rebuild now, getting a lot of picks and heading into the next two drafts, which scouts say have some franchise-changing stars.

It’s all too rare in the NBA that trades are win-win, but this has the potential to be if the Knicks can keep this core together and healthy to contend and if the Nets can make some smart picks and develop those guys.

Five takeaways from blockbuster Mikal Bridges to Knicks trade (2024)


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