Knicks are more financially flexible after 2024 NBA Draft trades

Every dollar counts for the Knicks in the new Collective Bargaining Agreement.

After the Mikal Bridges trade, the Knicks could be hard-capped at the NBA’s first apron. This would limit them to $178 million in team salary.

The Knicks entered the first round of the NBA Draft on Wednesday with $172 million in team salary committed to eight players, per ESPN’s Bobby Marks.

It’s incredibly difficult to fill out a roster with just $6 million.

The Knicks’ moves on Wednesday night give them a little more financial flexibility.

New York was able to shed salary by trading one of its first-round picks to the Oklahoma City Thunder for five future second-round picks. The Knicks selected Pacome Dadiet with the other first-round pick. If they draft and stash Dadiet and sign two second-round picks to minimum deals, the Knicks will have saved $3 million in team salary.

The Knicks can avoid the first apron hard-cap by adding to the Bridges trade. They’d need to add roughly $5 million in salary to the trade.

If they accomplish that, the Knicks will be hard-capped at the second apron ($189.5 million).

This would give them enough flexibility to offer Isaiah Hartenstein a deal that starts at $16.2 million. The Knicks are limited to that offer because they have Hartenstein’s Early Bird rights.

They can offer Hartenstein a four-year deal worth as much as $72 million.

Teams with cap space can offer Hartenstein much more than $72 million over four years. With Hartenstein expected to be a top target for several teams, it has become unlikely that the Knicks will be able to retain their center. (Hartenstein, of course, could choose to take significantly less money and come back to New York.)

With Hartenstein’s situation up in the air, you can expect the Knicks to continue to search for ways to shed salary and avoid the first apron.

What they did Wednesday gave them a little flexibility. But they’ll need to do more in order to field a roster that can compete with the top teams in the NBA.

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