With the 2008 NBA draft only days away, the trade rumors and pre-draft jitters by teams have already begun to fly around the league. One rumor that we are starting to hear that may be a real possibility is the Memphis Grizzlies trading the rights to the #5 pick and the hefty contract of Purdue standout Brain Cardinal to the New York Knicks for David Lee and Malik Rose.
The Knickerbockers already have the sixth pick in the draft and would love to be able to pick back to back so early in the draft. The Knicks are looking to go young and get new faces in the City. After bringing in Coach D’Antoni and with the many high priced contracts the Knicks have on the team, the loss of Lee and Rose could be beneficial to the Knicks in the future. The Knicks are looking for a fresh team with new faces to make a new start and to allow fans to forget about the past four seasons. With a new coach and a new president, Donny Walsh, the Knicks are hoping the new faces can mesh with the old faces to combine for some more wins.
Mock draft boards have Freshman phenom Kevin Love, as the #5 pick, going to the Grizzlies. The Knicks are looking at either K-Love, Danilo Gallinari, Eric Gordon, or Russell Westbrook as probable #5 and 6 picks. They would love to see O.J. Mayo drop in the draft, and with the most recent allegations about him receiving money (apparently over $30,000) from Rodney Guillory, anything is possible.
If the Knicks do trade Lee to the Grizzlies, Kevin Love is certainly a serious candidate to replace him. They both have similar games and would fit into the Knicks new style with D’Antoni. Both can shoot from the outside and play close to the bucket. The Knicks have such a high team salary that the loss of Lee this year could be good for them. The former Florida Gator has one year left on his contract worth around $8 million. He has been playing well for the Knicks and with his experience in the league, will likely demand more money than that next year as a free agent. The past several years, the player going #5 has made less than $8 million which will certainly help the Knicks with their salary situation, however the addition of Brian Cardinal’s $13 million dollar salary would definitely make the deal seem less sweet. The difference in contracts between Cardinal and a #5 pick rookie, and Rose and Lee comes out to around $5 million dollars. As we all know, spending more money is something New York is used to and not afraid of doing.
These are only rumors, and no formal trades have been offered yet, but Knicks fans can only speculate and look forward to a new season with a lot of new faces.