By Chris Sheridan
I visited the ESPN 1050 Studios at 2 Penn Plaza, right next door to Madison Square Garden, on Friday afternoon to appear on the Bill Daughtry show and to videotape Knicks and Nets draft preview spots, part of ESPN's huge NBA draft coverage. The draft preview video (psst, New York likes this guy) will be posted on this site next week.
You can listen to the interview here, and by visiting this blog you are getting an even more detailed rundown of one of the topics we hit on: the Knicks' draft plans.
New York currently holds picks Nos. 38 and 39 in the second round, and team president Donnie Walsh has said the Knicks are interested in buying a low first-round pick as they did last year when they picked up Toney Douglas with the Lakers' pick (No. 29), which cost Jim Dolan $3 million.
It should be noted that Memphis Grizzlies owner Michael Heisley has always been eager to make money in trades, and Heisley's team holds pick Nos. 25 and 28 at the bottom of the first round.
The Knicks also could look to purchase low second-round picks, and sources are telling me the asking price for those right now is $1,5 million and up. (Quite a change from a few years ago. When the Nets selected Kyle Korver at No. 51 in 2003, they sold his rights to the Sixers for $150,000.)
Second-round picks are especially appealing to the Knicks because they will not impact the team's salary cap space this summer. New York currently has only five players under contract for next season, but NBA rules stipulate that a team carry at least 12 salary-cap holds at all times. So if the Knicks have seven players on their roster coming out of the draft (the five currently under contract plus the two second-round picks), they'll also be required by the collective bargaining rules to carry five phantom players with cap holds of $473,604 -- the minimum salary for the 2010-11 season. If they have five extra actual players through draft-night purchases, the cap holds stay at the same $473,604 figure.
(If you want to know ever more about this higher salary cap math and how it relates to the Knicks, check out this earlier blog post.)
Here is the entire NBA draft order. Teams with multiple picks at the middle-to-bottom of the second round include Minnesota (Nos. 45 and 56), Phoenix (46 and 60) and the Lakers (Nos. 43 and 58). Financial logic would also dictate that the Knicks also might have a shot at buying the No. 55 pick from the Utah Jazz, who must pay a luxury tax bill of nearly $2 million for the 2009-10 season. The Lakers ($21.4 million) and Suns ($5.04 million) also are tax-paying teams and also probably wouldn't mind dipping into Jim D.'s deep pockets to help pay their bills.