The New York Knicks have been trying to turn over their roster with talented young players. And they added some leadership for those younger players by trading for Utah Jazz center
“Davis, who is under contract for $5 million next season, is a well-liked veteran,” SNYtv’s Ian Begley tweeted Thursday. “Young Nets players valued Davis’ leadership when he was in Brooklyn.”
Additionally, Begley reported that the Knicks were able to add some future roster versatility by landing two second-round picks in the 2023 NBA Draft as part of the deal and draft-day maneuverings.
“So they now have four 2nd rounders in a draft that could include high school players,” Begley tweeted.
A McDonald’s All-American, Davis signed with North Carolina and provided a key piece the Tar Heels lacked on their 2007-08 Final Four team. With five returning starters and a strong freshman class that included Davis, Tyler Zeller and Larry Drew. Davis mostly came off the bench, using his energy level to put up 6.7 points, 7.0 rebounds and 1.7 blocks in just 18.8 minutes per game. North Carolina rolled to the national championship, winning every tournament game by double digits. Davis had 11 points and a team-best eight rebounds in the national title game, an 89-72 victory.
Davis returned for his sophomore season, though a broken wrist ended his season. Having averaged 13.4 points, 9.6 rebounds and 2.8 blocks per game, Davis elected to leave school for the NBA Draft and was a lottery pick of the Toronto Raptors, going 13th overall.
He’s bounced around the league since, setting a career-high in points per game with the Los Angeles Lakers in 2014-15, when he started 24 of the 79 games he played in, scoring 8.3 points per contest.
He’s only started 14 of the 314 games he’s logged in the five years since, though he’s continued to play a solid rotational role. The 8.6 rebounds per game he grabbed for the Brooklyn Nets in 2018-19 was a career-high mark.
Now Davis, who turned 31 in June, will join a Knicks team that was overflowing in forwards but without much proven experience. The Knicks added to their forward haul on draft night, picking up Dayton forward Obi Toppin — a New York native — with the No. 8 overall pick. Toppin had reportedly been in the discussion for the first overall pick (and just about every pick after that), with the Knicks thrilled that he dropped to their spot. The Knicks also have former Kentucky star Julius Randle, though he has been the rumored subject of potential trades, along with another former Wildcat and a previous New York lottery pick in Kevin Knox.
While Randle could be on the move, Davis could represent a relatively low-cost veteran option to work with Toppin and Knox (along with guard RJ Barrett) as the Knicks try to turn their franchise around.