DETROIT – The Detroit Pistons have reportedly acquired guard Alec Burks, center Nerlens Noel, and two second-round picks without giving up anything in a trade with the New York Knicks.
That’s right, Troy Weaver is at it again.
The Knicks are trading center Nerlens Noel and guard Alec Burks to the Pistons, sources tell ESPN. The Knicks will unload $19M more in salary, clearing the way for cap space to try and sign free agent guard Jalen Brunson.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 29, 2022
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports the Pistons are also $6 million cash in the deal. The second-round picks coming to Detroit are the Pistons’ own 2023 second-rounder and Miami’s 2024 second-rounder, which were both owned by New York.
Meet Burks and Noel
Burks, 30, averaged 11.7 points, 4.9 rebounds, and 3 assists per game last season while shooting 40.4% from 3-point range and 39.1% overall.
In 11 NBA seasons, he’s averaged 10.6 points per game and shot 38% from beyond the arc. After spending the first seven full years with the Utah Jazz, Burks has played for six different teams since the start of the 2018-19 season.
Burks is set to make $10 million this season and has a team option for $10.5 million next year before he becomes a free agent.
Noel, 28, scored only 3.4 points, and grabbed 5.6 rebounds per game despite averaging 28.6 minutes for the Knicks last season. He’s a career 7.3-point-per-game scorer on 54.9% shooting.
Noel will make $9.2 million this season, and has a $9.6 million team option for 2023-24 that the Pistons will almost certainly decline.
Reasoning behind trade
Wait, why would the Knicks give the Pistons two players and two draft picks in exchange for nothing?
They’re clearing about $13 million (the $19 million combined salaries of Burks and Noel, minus the $6 million cash) in salary cap space to use in free agency. Specifically, Wojnarowski reports the Knicks plan to pursue Dallas Mavericks restricted free agent guard Jalen Brunson.
The Pistons had the most cap space in the NBA before this trade, so they were able to take on those contracts while stockpiling draft picks and a couple of veteran players in the process.