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Mikal Bridges at Center of Unusual Knicks, Nets Trade

In a historic move on the eve of the NBA draft, the New York Knicks and Brooklyn Nets completed their first trade since 1983. The Knicks acquired Mikal Bridges from the Nets in exchange for Bojan Bogdanovic, five first-round draft picks, a first-round pick swap, and a second-round selection, sources revealed to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski on Tuesday.

Trade Details and Implications

Brooklyn will receive unprotected first-round picks from New York in 2025, 2027, 2029, and 2031, along with an unprotected pick swap in 2028. Additionally, Brooklyn will get a top-four protected 2025 first-round pick via the Milwaukee Bucks and a 2025 second-rounder. To complete the deal, the Knicks will receive a 2026 second-round pick from the Nets.

Historical Context of the Trade

This trade marks only the fifth transaction between these two New York franchises since the Nets joined the NBA in 1976. The last trade occurred on June 22, 1983, when the Nets traded Len Elmore to the Knicks for a 1984 second-round pick. Nearly 41 years later, this blockbuster deal has significant implications for both teams.

Impact on the Knicks

Bridges, 27, has established himself as one of the elite 3-and-D players in the league, never missing a game in his NBA career and averaging 19.6 points per game last season for Brooklyn. His acquisition reunites him with former Villanova teammates Jalen Brunson, Josh Hart, and Donte DiVincenzo, who together led the Wildcats to the 2016 national championship and another title two years later.

The Knicks are aiming to end a 52-year championship drought next spring. They have recently made significant strides, winning playoff series in back-to-back seasons for the first time in 24 years. They defeated the Philadelphia 76ers 4-2 in the first round before falling to the Indiana Pacers in seven games in the Eastern Conference semifinals this past spring.

Future Moves for New York

Sources indicate that New York is focused on re-signing forward OG Anunoby, acquired midseason from the Toronto Raptors, who is set to become an unrestricted free agent. Additionally, the Knicks hope to retain center Isaiah Hartenstein, although their financial flexibility is limited due to only holding his early Bird rights, allowing a maximum contract of four years and $72.5 million.

Brooklyn’s Strategy Moving Forward

By trading Bridges, Brooklyn has signaled a clear direction. This move follows the team’s acquisition of several first-round picks in the Kevin Durant trade from the Phoenix Suns in February 2022. Now, the Nets have regained control of their 2025 and 2026 drafts, which are expected to be strong, featuring top prospects like Cooper Flagg and Cameron Boozer, the son of former NBA All-Star Carlos Boozer.

Bojan Bogdanovic’s Role in the Trade

Bojan Bogdanovic, 35, averaged 15.2 points last season between the Knicks and the Detroit Pistons. Originally drafted by the Nets in 2011, he spent the first 2½ years of his career with the team. His return to Brooklyn adds a seasoned scorer to the roster as the Nets build for the future.

Mikal Bridges’ Contract and Future Prospects

Bridges is owed $23.3 million and $24.9 million over the final two years of his current contract. He is eligible to sign a two-year extension on October 1, which can be extended further to three years and $113 million in six months. His durability and consistent performance make him a valuable asset for the Knicks’ ambitions.

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