GREENBURGH, N.Y. - Knicks president Phil Jackson isn't ruling out any scenario involving the team's No. 4 pick in Thursday's NBA Draft.
Ideally, Jackson would like to get a mature player, a person who can help the Knicks right away. That would seem to indicate the team could trade down for a veteran and a pick that they would use on a big man like Wisconsin's Frank Kaminsky or Kentucky's Willie Cauley-Stein. "We're listening," Jackson said Tuesday afternoon at the Knicks' training facility. "We're not soliciting so much. But we're listening.
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"We're looking for mature kids that have a reasonable understanding of their skills and how they fit in and have had some successes in the past because of that."InteractiveHow Phil Jackson is transforming the Knicks
Jackson also cautioned passing on someone who becomes "a 10-year All-Star later on down the line." That was in response to how long he's willing to wait for a player such as Latvian 7-footer Kristaps Porzingis to develop.
The Knicks have seen Porzingis, considered a top-five pick, three times during the predraft process, including Monday. Jackson said Monday's workout was cut short when Porzingis suffered cramping.
But the Knicks are having internal discussions about whom to take if they keep the pick and have talked to other teams about trade possibilities.
Trades could shake up how the draft plays out, and there is always the unpredictable 76ers, who pick third and could choose Ohio State guard D'Angelo Russell or Porzingis. If Russell is available, the Knicks likely would take him.
"Philadelphia sits ahead of us and they've been kind of an outlier most of the time in drafting, so we don't know what they're going to do," Jackson said. "It looks like their needs are guards because they've got a stockpile of bigs. But we don't know if that's what they'll do because they have a penchant for doing things not according to their scale of things."
Kentucky's Karl-Anthony Towns is expected to be taken first by Minnesota and Duke's Jahlil Okafor second by the Lakers. But reportedly the Lakers are trying to acquire center DeMarcus Cousins, whom the Kings might be willing to move.
Cousins could help the Knicks rebuild, but Jackson doesn't believe his team could offer enough to the Kings. "We're aware of the situation," Jackson said. "We understand the possibilities. We're just going to see what falls out. We don't know if we have enough stuff to even be in the talk."
There could be other possibilities for the Knicks. The Nuggets (seventh pick), Pistons (eighth), Hornets (ninth), Pacers (11th) and Suns (13th) are among the teams that could try to move up. The Knicks are high on Kentucky forward Trey Lyles, projected to go in the 10-15 range.
When pushed on the odds the Knicks would deal the pick, Jackson quipped, "A short percentage. Small percentage. A five percentage. How much do you pay in taxes? How about that percent?"
Denver is said to be offering point guard Ty Lawson and/or forward Kenneth Faried with the seventh pick. But taking back a veteran also eats away at some of the cap space the Knicks have for free agency.
"We consider that," Jackson said. "It has to be a consideration, depends upon how eminent or prominent that player really fits in. If it's a fill-in spot, we could fill in that spot with a free agent in terms of the space we were working with anyway. So we're aware of that."
Jackson said Carmelo Anthony, recovering from knee surgery, "looked great" during an on-court workout Monday . . . Pistons president/coach Stan Van Gundy said he's "not entirely optimistic" about keeping free-agent forward Greg Monroe, who many expect to sign with the Knicks.
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