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    Walker Kessler

    Utah Jazz Demand First-Round Pick for Walker Kessler; Knicks Show Interest

    July 9, 2024

    The Utah Jazz are reportedly seeking a first-round pick in exchange for their promising big man Walker Kessler, according to SNY’s Ian Begley. Among the teams expressing interest in Kessler are the New York Knicks, who are looking to bolster their depth at the center position following the departure of Isaiah Hartenstein to the Oklahoma City Thunder in free agency.

    “The Knicks have been in touch with Utah, have had some interest in Walker Kessler, the big man, as a potential solution for them at the backup five,” said Begley. “Teams in touch with Utah say the Jazz are looking for at least a first-round pick in return for Kessler in these conversations that have gone on earlier in the offseason.”

    Walker Kessler, a 22-year-old center, had an impressive season with the Jazz, averaging 8.1 points, 7.5 rebounds, and 2.4 blocks per game. His performance in just his second NBA season highlights his potential to develop into a starting-caliber player. Standing at 7 feet tall, Kessler’s defensive prowess, particularly his shot-blocking ability, makes him a valuable asset for any team looking to strengthen their interior defense.

    The Knicks’ pursuit of Kessler comes in the wake of Isaiah Hartenstein’s departure. Hartenstein was a key contributor for New York last season, averaging 7.8 points, 8.3 rebounds, and 1.1 blocks per game. His move to the Thunder has left a void in the Knicks’ frontcourt rotation, necessitating the search for a reliable backup center.

    Kessler’s potential acquisition could address this need effectively. Despite his youth, he has demonstrated significant promise and could seamlessly step into the role vacated by Hartenstein. Moreover, Kessler’s ability to protect the rim and contribute on the boards aligns well with the Knicks’ defensive-oriented approach under head coach Tom Thibodeau.

    However, Utah’s demand for a first-round pick in return for Kessler might be a sticking point for the Knicks. New York had a surplus of 2025 first-round picks but traded two of them to the Brooklyn Nets in a deal for Mikal Bridges. This has made the Knicks more cautious about parting with their remaining first-round assets.

    If the Knicks are confident that Kessler can significantly enhance their chances of making a deep playoff run or even contend for a championship, they might find it worthwhile to meet Utah’s asking price. Kessler’s potential long-term value as a developing player could justify the investment, especially considering the difficulty of finding quality centers in the league.

    Should the Knicks proceed with acquiring Kessler, he would provide immediate depth and stability to their frontcourt. His shot-blocking ability would complement starting center Mitchell Robinson, giving the Knicks a formidable defensive presence in the paint. Additionally, Kessler’s youth and potential for growth make him an intriguing piece for the Knicks’ future.

    For the Jazz, trading Kessler for a first-round pick would align with their ongoing rebuilding efforts. Accumulating draft assets can help Utah accelerate their development process and potentially secure more young talent to build around their existing core.

    About the Author


    Written by DafaNews

    DafaNews brings you the most highlighted news in the world of Sports. It serves you up-to-date matches, scores, live streams, fantasy games and quizzes. Our news covers prestigious leagues and events – Premier League, Champions League, World Cup and many more.

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