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Knicks Have Reportedly Been Discussing Notable Trade

A general view of Madison Square Garden during a Knicks game.

(Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

The New York Knicks remain focused on shedding salary for free agency.

According to HoopsHype's Michael Scotto, the Knicks have had "exploratory discussions" about sending center Nerlens Noel to the Los Angeles Clippers. 

Although Noel hasn't lived up to expectations as the No. 6 pick in 2013, he emerged as a valuable rim-protector when swatting 2.2 blocks per game for the Knicks in 2020-21. However, injuries limited him to 25 games last season, over which he averaged 3.4 points, 5.6 rebounds, and 1.2 blocks.

Noel will make $9.68 million next season, which the Clippers could absorb via a $9.7 million trade exemption created by trading Serge Ibaka to the Milwaukee Bucks in February. 

Per HoopsHype salary cap analyst Yossi Gozlan, the Knicks would have $24.5 million in cap space if they move the 28-year-old without taking any money back. This would help them pursue free-agent guard Jalen Brunson, a plan they commenced last Thursday.

During the NBA Draft, the Knicks traded the No. 11 pick for multiple future picks. They acquired the No. 13 pick, but flipped it alongside Kemba Walker to the Detroit Pistons for a 2025 first-round selection.

They now possess several future picks, which they could potentially include to persuade the Clippers to take on Noel's contract.

Acquiring Noel would likely mean the Clippers lose free-agent center Isaiah Hartenstein, who averaged 8.3 points and 4.9 rebounds off the bench last season. The Clippers are reportedly using their $6.4 million mid-level exemption to sign John Wall after he's bought out by the Houston Rockets and clears waivers.

After snapping a seven-season playoff brought, the Knicks backslid by going 37-45 last season. They're embarking on a pivotal offseason in hopes of re-discovering their prior momentum