In one of the strangest trades of NBA draft night, the Detroit Pistons acquired University of Memphis big man Jalen Duren in a three-way deal with the New York Knicks and Charlotte Hornets, per multiple reports.
The Hornets drafted Duren with the No. 13 overall pick and sent it to the Pistons via the Knicks, who added Kemba Walker to Detroit's package. The Pistons plan to negotiate a buyout of Walker's $9.2 million salary next season, which would make the 32-year-old a free agent, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.
Pistons general manager Troy Weaver reportedly targeted two players in the lottery and landed both elite athletes: Duren and Purdue University guard Jaden Ivey, who earlier fell into Detroit's lap at No. 5 overall.
The Knicks cleared Walker's contract from their books, signaling an effort to create enough salary cap space for free-agent shopping next week. New York traded its No. 11 overall pick to the Oklahoma City Thunder for three future protected first-round picks earlier in the night, clearing another $4.5 million. With two first-round transactions that did not yield a selection, the Knicks created $18 million in cap space.
The Pistons also dealt a 2025 first-round pick from the Milwaukee Bucks to New York in the Duren trade.
The Knicks will send one of the three first-round picks they received from Oklahoma City and four future second-round picks to the Hornets in the Duren deal, according to the Charlotte Observer's Rod Boone. Charlotte also owned this year's No. 15 overall pick and drafted Duke University 7-footer Mark Williams.
When all was said and done at the end of the first round on Thursday, the Knicks traded the No. 11 pick, Kemba Walker and four future second-round picks for Milwaukee's top-four protected 2025 first-round pick (via Detroit) and conditional 2023 first-rounders from the Pistons and Washington Wizards (both via OKC).
The Pistons came away with Ivey, Duren and Walker on Thursday. It cost them Milwaukee's 2025 first-round pick, which they acquired on Wednesday in the trade of Jerami Grant to the Portland Trail Blazers.
The Hornets drafted Williams at No. 15 and traded the No. 13 pick for Denver's 2023 first-round pick and four second-round picks over the next two years — all via the Knicks.
Got all that?
– – – – – – –