Arbella Early Edition

Scalabrine: Knicks a ‘formidable foe' for C's after Bridges trade

With Mikal Bridges now in the mix, can the Knicks hang with the Celtics in the East?

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The New York Knicks aren't messing around after falling just short of an Eastern Conference Finals showdown with the Boston Celtics.

After falling to the Indiana Pacers in seven games in the conference semifinals, the Knicks have responded by trading veteran Bojan Bogdanovic, four unprotected first-rounders, a protected first-rounder via the Milwaukee Bucks, an unprotected pick swap, and a second-rounder to the Brooklyn Nets for star wing Mikal Bridges.

On paper, the Knicks are even better after finishing the 2023-24 campaign with a 50-32 record for the second seed in the East. NBC Sports Boston's Brian Scalabrine believes with Bridges in the mix, New York could be a formidable foe for the reigning NBA champions.

"I like it for the Knicks," Scalabrine said of the trade on Wednesday's Early Edition. "They're adding a guy who's 27 years old. The contract is super favorable. He only makes $22 million this year so they don't go into the second apron and cause all kinds of problems moving forward. If you wanna add in a guy or do a trade with Julius Randle you can accept more players.

"A lot of people think it was too much to trade for a non-All-Star type of player. I think it's a perfect fit. I'm not one of these guys that's gonna overreact to the Villanova Knicks or anything like that. I think it's part of the deal, but I think it's a good trade for the Knicks and a big part of them this offseason would be to re-sign Isaiah Hartenstein if they can. Then we have a formidable foe in the East which, right now, you really look at it, it doesn't look like we have one. So, it does make the Eastern Conference or the playoffs a lot more interesting than we made it this year as we dusted up our first three opponents."

Bridges joins fellow former Villanova Wildcats Jalen Brunson, Josh Hart, and Donte DiVincenzo in the Big Apple. Scal is high on this group, especially if it retains big man Isaiah Hartenstein in free agency.

"I like the way that they play together. I think they each complement each other well," he added. "But I think with Mikal Bridges right now, you would think that Josh Hart and DiVincenzo would go to the bench. Those guys are really good, so I think those guys coming off the bench would be a viable option for their team to be good.

"And I think more than anything, when people talk about (coach Tom) Thibodeau playing guys and, you know, they were just shorthanded last year. I think Julius Randle was out, you have OG Anunoby missing time. So yeah, they had to run those guys into the ground. This year, they look like a deeper team. They have eight, to me, legitimate guys if they get OG Anunoby back and they get Hartenstein back. They've got a really good team that could play hard and I think they all kind of fit in with Tom Thibodeau and what they're doing."

A day after the Bridges deal, the Knicks re-signed Anunoby to a five-year, $212.5 million contract. While their active offseason shows they mean business, we can expect other East contenders to have a similar approach this offseason after watching the C's cruise to Banner 18.

You can watch the full conversation about the new-look Knicks in the Early Edition video below, or on YouTube:

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