Knicks Eyeing NBA Title After Adding Another Villanova Standout

Knicks Eyeing NBA Title
Published by NYSB Staff
Last Updated: 09. Jul 2024.

The New York Knicks' stunning trade for veteran forward Mikal Bridges has cemented Tom Thibodeau's squad as a legitimate title contender. Seeking a return to the Eastern Conference Finals for the first time in 25 years, the Knicks orchestrated their first trade with the Brooklyn Nets in more than four decades.

Bridges' Reunion and Impact

Bridges averaged 19.6 per game last season and is reunited with a trio of former Villanova Wildcats' teammates - Jalen Brunson, Josh Hart, and Donte DiVincenzo. The 27-year-old, who finished second in the Defensive Player of the Year race two years ago, has not missed a game in the past 10 years - including college and 474 regular-season NBA contests.

The league's Iron Man acquisition has also enhanced the Knicks' title hopes. The Knicks (+900) are knotted with Minnesota (+900) for the fifth-best odds to win the NBA championship in 2024-25, according to top NBA betting sites. In the Eastern Conference championship odds, only Philadelphia and the reigning NBA champion Boston have better odds.

High Expectations and Expert Opinions

Although New York will open the upcoming season with high expectations to deliver the franchise its first Larry O'Brien Trophy since 1973, DiVincenzo believes the Knicks' culture and head coach will help the team reach new heights.

"Whatever team we have, I think we're going to be very good," DiVincenzo said. "No matter what happens the rest of the offseason, I think overall everybody is going to come back and get better. I think with there's always a foundation, it doesn't matter who is on the court.”

“No matter who is on the team, I think we got a sense and we got a taste of what we can do and how we can take that next step,” DiVincenzo said. “And I think every single person in the organization is going to do everything they can to take that next step."

Trade Details and Championship Pursuit

The Knicks surrendered significant assets - a shocking five first-round picks (four unprotected), a 2028 unprotected pick swap, a 2025 second-round pick, and Croatian sharpshooter Bojan Bogdanovic - to pry Bridges away from the Nets. The move signaled that New York was "all in" in pursuing a championship next season.

Expert Opinions on Bridges

Former NBA standout Andre Iguodala feels like Bridges could be the final piece to New York's elusive title pursuit.

"I think Mikal is perfect alongside Jalen Brunson to allow Jalen to be Jalen," Iguodala said recently on 7PM in Brooklyn, a Wave Sports + Entertainment Original featuring Kid Mero and former Knicks player Carmelo Anthony.

"They both complement each other very, very well," added Iguodala. "And I know I spoke on this, I thought Mikal Bridges was the best talent in the city of New York. Now obviously, Jalen has proved me wrong because just his IQ is on another level and in the way he's been able to play, it's been amazing. But everyone's been asking, how far can the Knicks go with the team they have? I think Mikal was going to add that perfect balance to Jalen."

Doubts from Draymond Green

Not everyone believes that Bridges will be able to help New York end its 50-year title drought. Golden State power forward Draymond Green, a four-time league champion, doubts the Knicks have what it takes to dethrone the Celtics.

"I just don't think that group is good enough to beat Boston. Ultimately you're building a team that you hope can beat Boston. And I don't think that team is going to beat Boston," Green said on his podcast, "The Draymond Green Show."

"So you got a year or two like the Houston Rockets. I don't know if y'all remember the Rockets when we were on our run. You got two years and it's oops, that didn't work. Clint Capela is gone. The first domino falls. And then once the first domino falls, that's it. It's gone from there. That's what I think is going to happen. That's how I see it playing out. If it don't work, that's exactly how it will play out. So you heard it here first."

OG Anunoby

The Knicks re-signed the veteran forward to the most lucrative contract in franchise history - a five-year deal worth $212.5 million that includes a player option for the final season. However, Anunoby's history of missing games due to injury makes this deal a risky one.

The 26-year-old last played 70 games during a regular season in his rookie campaign six years ago and has played more than 50 games just once in the previous four seasons. Anunoby missed 27 games in 2023-24 and played sparingly in the second round of the playoffs with a hamstring injury.

Pacome Dadiet

New York drafted the French teenager with the 25th pick in the first round of last week's NBA Draft. ESPN basketball analyst and international hoops junkie Fran Fraschilla praised the Knicks selection.

"This was a great pickup for the Knicks," Fraschilla tweeted. "If you are a Westchester Knicks fan, buy your tickets now because he will spend time there, but love his long-term upside."

The 6-foot-8 prospect is confident that he can contribute next season despite his age and lack of experience.

"I think I'm really versatile and can also bring what a rookie needs to bring — energy," the talented 18-year-old said. "Coming in and grabbing rebounds to push the ball and also knock down shots. I think it's very important for a rookie to bring those things."

Isaiah Hartenstein

The Knicks lost their starting center to a massive three-year, $87 million contract with the Oklahoma City Thunder. The 7-foot-1 Oregon native averaged 7.8 points and 8.3 rebounds last season, and was also a physical rim protector.

"NYC thank you for taking my family in and making my time there so special. Every time I went out on the court I always gave it my all for the city and I felt the love right back. NYC will always have a special place in my heart. All love," Hartenstein wrote on Instagram.

New York has several in-house candidates like Mitchell Robinson, Jericho Sims, and Precious Achiuwa. The franchise could trade for an inexpensive free agent.

Robinson has a history of injury woes, while Sims is raw but oozes athleticism. Achiuwa is a power forward but was forced to play center last season due to a rash of injuries.

Betting on the Knicks' Championship Pursuit

The New York Knicks' bold move to acquire Mikal Bridges, alongside their solid core of former Villanova Wildcats, has set high expectations for the upcoming NBA season. With significant assets invested in their championship pursuit, the Knicks are poised to make a deep playoff run. Fans and analysts alike are eager to see if this revamped squad can finally bring a title back to New York after a 50-year drought.

For those looking to bet on the Knicks' outcomes this season, legal New York sportsbooks offer competitive odds and various betting options. Whether you're optimistic about their chances to win the championship or curious about individual player performances, placing a wager can add an extra layer of excitement to the season.

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