Second Knicks-Pistons trade called one of most underrated in NBA

Alec Burks #18 of the New York Knicks shoots the ball against Isaiah Stewart. (Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images)
Alec Burks #18 of the New York Knicks shoots the ball against Isaiah Stewart. (Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images) /

In a list of the top 10 most underrated moves of the NBA off-season, the second trade between the Detroit Pistons and the New York Knicks was mentioned – in the Pistons favor.

Almost all the moves general manager Troy Weaver has made this summer have met with approval by Pistons fans (with one exception). However, it is nice sometimes to get outside validation that they are doing the right thing.

Greg Swartz for The Bleacher Report put together the ‘Top 10 Most Underrated Moves of the NBA Offseason’ and the second deal between the Pistons and the New York Knicks made it as No. 10 (the No. 9 move was the Nuggets signing ex-Piston Bruce Brown).

Interestingly, Swartz did not select the first Knicks-Pistons trade, in which Detroit ended up drafting promising center Jalen Duren. But Detroit had to give up something (namely a future first-round pick) to pull that one off.

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To glance at it, here is the second deal with the Knicks (when they realized they needed even more cap space cleared to sign Jalen Brunson):

Pistons receive:

Alec Burks
Nerlens Noel
Own 2023 second-round draft pick
2026 Minn. or Knicks second-round draft pick
$6 million dollars

Knicks receive:


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Well, technically, it was not literally nothing, to make it a trade, New York had to get something. However, the rights to foreign player Nikola Radičević (who Detroit received in the Jerami Grant trade with Portland) and a top-55-protected 2025 second-rounder (meaning Detroit would have to have one of the top five records in the NBA to convey) is pretty much nothing.

The $6 million, supposedly, was to help buyout Kemba Walker, who Detroit got in the first trade (although it has yet to occur)

The pittance the Knicks received in return seemed to convince Swartz it was a great underrated deal, as he put it:

"They took on the contracts of Alec Burks and Nerlens Noel while also getting their own 2023 second-round pick back and adding a 2026 second-rounder via either the Knicks or Minnesota Timberwolves. The Pistons sent essentially nothing back to the Knicks in return.… This wasn’t the most headline-grabbing trade this summer, but it could end up paying big dividends for the Pistons."

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In a weak free agent class, Detroit probably would not have gotten players the level of Burks and Noel for what they are being paid, And Weaver has always stressed he wants veterans on the squad. Also, both players are on team options for next season, so Detroit has no obligation to them after this year.

Unlike other rebuilding teams, the Pistons do not have this massive cache’ of draft picks. While, in the perfect world, it would have been great if Weaver had gotten back the Pistons first-round pick the Knicks hold, adding some second-rounders for, as Swartz points out, virtually nothing, is pretty good.

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With a slightly unbalanced roster, and too many guaranteed contracts for the roster limit, Weaver is probably not completely finished with his off-season moves. But one of them, from a national perspective, is looking very good.