REPORT: Mikal Bridges deal expansion finalized

While the blockbuster trade that helped the Knicks land Mikal Bridges won’t be official until July 6th, fans can release a collective sigh of relief for now as the deal seems to have been finalized at last. As seen below, New York will send Bojan Bogdanovic, Shake Milton, Mamadi Diakite, four unprotected firsts, one protected first-round pick, and one pick swap for Mikal Bridges and Keita Bates-Diop.

This is a significant update for several reasons. One, rumors had started to swirl that the Knicks may have to end up including breakout guard Deuce McBride in the deal. Despite the team being adamant that they weren’t interested in doing sothe potential that they would remain, leaving fans worried about a scenario in which they’d have to say goodbye to yet another homegrown talent. The Knicks though were able to complete the deal without giving McBride up, which is significant due to his importance to the team and his extremely team-friendly deal that he’s currently on.

Two, this deal, as it’s currently constructed, now allows the Knicks to stay below the second apron. As things stand presently, they are around $16.8 to $16.9 million under the aforementioned second apron giving them a bit more flexibility in filling out the rest of the roster. How exactly they’ll use the remaining salary remains to be seen though. They could bring back Precious Achiuwa and use the $5.2 million mid-level exception, go after Nick Richards or Walker Kessler through a trade, or as Leon Rose has so often done, pull off a move nobody even suspected.

Regardless of which direction they go though, today was yet another example of why this front office deserves the praise and trust they’ve been showered with. Rose, and salary cap savant Brock Aller have done an amazing job of putting together a contender that fits well together. And they’ve done so through smart drafting, salary cap maneuvering, patience, and a seemingly never-ending quest to plan forward.

The off-season is long and the Knicks still have a major hole they need to address. In doing so, it may end up leading to the unfortunate departure of McBride. But for now, fans can rest easy for the time being knowing that the Knicks were able to acquire Bridges, and get under the second apron without giving up their prized backup guard.

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