Knicks trade Alec Burks, Nerlens Noel to Pistons to clear cap space in Jalen Brunson pursuit, per report

Last week, on draft night, the New York Knicks traded Kemba Walker and the No. 13 overall pick (Jalen Duren) to the Detroit Pistons in exchange for a future first-round pick. Now, just a few days later, the two sides have come together to make another deal. 

This time, the Knicks will send Alec Burks, Nerlens Noel, two future second-round picks and $6 million in cash to the Pistons in order to clear more cap space for their pursuit of Jalen Brunson, according to Adrian Wojnarowski. The Pistons will not be sending any players back to the Knicks in the deal. 

By moving Burks and Noel, the Knicks will be able to clear an additional $19 million from their books. Combined with the money shed by trading Walker, they now have around $30 million in cap space this summer, which will be more than enough for them to offer Brunson a deal worth $100 million over four years

Early on Tuesday, multiple reports suggested that the Knicks are now the favorites to sign Brunson. They’ve hired his dad as an assistant coach, worked to clear cap space and will now be able to make a competitive offer when free agency opens at 6 p.m. ET on June 30. While the Mavericks are better set up for immediate success, Brunson will get to take on a new challenge in New York and also have a bigger role on offense. 

It’s also worth noting that because the Knicks now have the cap space to sign Brunson, the Mavericks’ chances of salvaging the situation by working out a sign-and-trade have been greatly reduced. As it stands, the Mavs are likely to lose Brunson for nothing, which will be a huge blow to their hopes of making another run in the playoffs next season. 

As for the Pistons, this deal also impacts their summer plans. While reports after their successful draft suggested they would no longer pursue Deandre Ayton, there was still a chance they could go that route. Now, they are officially out of those sweepstakes. Instead, they’ll be happy using their cap space to absorb expiring contracts and add draft assets in the process. Veterans like Burks and Noel can help set an example for their young team this season, and may even be flipped at the deadline. If not, they’ll expire next summer, and the Pistons will once again have plenty of cap space to work with. 





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