Knicks 2019 NBA Draft Rumors: Ja Morant to Meet with NY After RJ Barrett Visit
Morant's visit comes on the heels of New York hosting Duke forward RJ Barrett, who stated to reporters that he won't meet with any other teams. "This is the place I want to be," Barrett said, according to MSG Networks. "I hope they draft me."
Should the Knicks opt to go in a different direction at No. 3 overall with Morant, they'll be getting a dynamic playmaker who heightened his profile with a triple-double against Marquette during the first round of the NCAA tournament in March.
After Ja's 17-point, 16-assist, 11-rebound performance, Morant's father, Tee, told Bleacher Report's Master Tesfatsion that his son should be the top pick of the draft:
According to ESPN.com's Jonathan Givony, the Memphis Grizzlies "have let their intentions be known" in regards to using their No. 2 overall pick to secure Morant. However, Givony followed that report with another one stating that Morant could fall to the Knicks (h/t NJ.com):
"There are few sure things in any draft. After I reported a couple of weeks ago from the combine that the Memphis Grizzlies informed interested parties that they intend to select Murray State’s Ja Morant at No. 2, Memphis has been sending out some mixed messages. The Grizzlies’ ownership group is still telling people around the league that the team is locked in on Morant, but the front office has requested to have Barrett in for a private workout—something he has declined but might revisit over the next three weeks, sources told ESPN."
Morant underwent "a minor arthroscopic procedure" on his right knee earlier this month, according to ESPN.com's Adrian Wojnarowski, which might affect the Grizzlies' attitude toward him. Nonetheless, Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium relayed that the 19-year-old visited with Memphis on June 9.
In regards to his upcoming trip to New York City, Morant spoke to the New York Post's Ethan Sears at the combine about a possible adjustment. "I'm from a small town," the Sumter, South Carolina, native said. "It's a big city."
In two seasons at Murray State, Morant collectively averaged 18.7 points, 8.2 assists and 6.1 rebounds. The 2018-19 season was his best, as he posted averages of 24.5 points, 10.0 assists, 5.7 rebounds and 1.8 steals.
The Knicks are desperate for a franchise-shifting talent, as they stumbled to an NBA-worst 17-65 record. Last season, a combination of Dennis Smith Jr. and Emmanuel Mudiay ran the point in New York.
Smith arrived to the Knicks midseason as part of the trade that sent Kristaps Porzngis to the Dallas Mavericks, while Mudiay was sent from the Denver Nuggets as part of a three-team deal involving Dallas in Feb. 2018.
The Knicks hold the No. 3 overall pick in the upcoming NBA draft, which is slated for June 20 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.