The New York Knicks have fully embraced rebuilding this season after trading Carmelo Anthony to the Oklahoma City Thunder and passing the baton to new franchise player Kristaps Porzingis. The road toward playoff-contention will be bumpy, but the Knicks already have a special group of young players (Porzingis, Willy Hernangomez, and Frank Ntilikina) in place. It’s just a matter of time before they all reach their full potential.

While the Knicks aren’t expected to win a lot of games this year, landing a top-5 pick in next year’s NBA Draft Lottery will present the organization with the opportunity of adding another young player to their current core.

Bridging the Gap at SF

Michigan State’s Miles Bridges, a projected lottery pick in the 2018 NBA Draft, has expressed his willingness to be part of a rebuilding team if the Knicks select him next year. Considered as the best two-way player in college basketball right now, the 19-year-old forward returns for another year with the Spartans, hoping a much better showing in his sophomore season will continue to push his draft stock upward.

"If the Knicks draft me, I'll be extremely happy. It's a great organization. I know it's been going through a lot in the past few years but every team goes through that and at some point it's going to be a turnaround point. So if I were part of that turnaround point, then I would be happy," Bridges told Adam Zagoria on the 4 Quarters Podcast.

NBA draft scout Jonathan Givony of ESPN expects another breakout year for Spartans star player, whom he considered a phenomenal athlete. Bridges averaged 16.9 points, 8.3 rebounds, and 1.5 blocks in 32 minutes per game while shooting 48 percent from the floor and 39 percent from the three-point line during his freshman season.

His game will transition well to the pros because of his NBA-ready body, improving range, and above-average individual defense. The Knicks do seem to have future cornerstones at the center, power forward, and point guard positions, but they are still missing a potential small forward of the future. Bridges appears to be a good candidate for that role, but next year’s draft will also be riddled with talented forwards such as Duke’s Marvin Bagley III, Missouri’s Michael Porter Jr., and Kentucky’s Wendell Carter Jr.

Celtics get $8.4 million DPE

The NBA officially granted the Disabled Player Exemption to the Boston Celtics after Gordon Hayward suffered a season-ending ankle injury two weeks ago. The DPE is worth $8.4 million and the Celtics have until March 10 to use it. According to Hoops Rumors writer Austin Kent, Celtics GM Danny Ainge could take a wait-and-see approach before he makes a move in free agency or through a trade using the DPE. With only a few notable names left in the free agency pool, it’s possible that Boston will be swinging for another trade around February.