Cameron Payne is a point guard from Murray State who is projected to be selected in the middle of the first round of this summer’s NBA Draft.
The Knicks have the fourth overall pick, and will have Payne in for a workout next week. It’s unlikely they’d select Payne that high, so if they do end up liking him, then trading down remains a realistic option.
League sources with knowledge of the team’s thinking say the Knicks are doing more than their due diligence by working out Payne; they are “serious” about considering him in the draft, those sources say.
Payne is widely viewed as a player who will be taken in the middle-to-late first round. So the Knicks’ interest in Payne and, to a lesser degree, their interest in Willie Cauley-Stein, is a sign that they are at least considering trading down from No. 4.
Both Knicks president Phil Jackson and GM Steve Mills have said that the organization would consider all of its options with the pick, including the possibility of trading down.
Phil Jackson has admitted to being a little impatient as far as rebuilding is concerned, so if trade possibilities arise that would involve New York dealing the No. 4 pick for some established talent that could help immediately, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him pursue this option — especially if it’s one that could include the Knicks receiving a later first round pick in return as part of a potential package.
The Knicks have plenty to consider, and have been linked to so many prospects — Trey Lyles, Justise Winslow, Emmanuel Mudiay, to name a few — that it’s going to be tough to predict which way they’ll lean before they fully complete the evaluation process.