Knicks, Nets adapt blockbuster Mikal Bridges trade with new players

The Knicks have found a way to even the playing field so they can complete the trade of Mikal Bridges.

The Knicks will include guard Shake Milton in a sign-and-trade and roster-filler Mamadi Diakite along with Bojan Bogdanovic — along with five future first-round picks, one unprotected pick swap and one second-round pick — in the deal with the Nets, a source confirmed.

The blockbuster trade was agreed upon from the outset with the idea that the Knicks would not be bound by a fixed salary cap and that two additional players would come to Brooklyn when the trade was announced after the July 6 moratorium was lifted.

Mikal Bridges will soon be a Knick. Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The Knicks had to add salary to the deal to avoid paying a maximum of $178.1 million on the initial contract for luxury tax purposes.

A source said it was always written into the deal that the Knicks “would never have a hard cap hit on the first platform” and “could not or would not go beyond the second platform” — regardless of what happened with Isaiah Hartenstein’s free agency or other moves.

The Knicks could pay Hartenstein just $72.5 million over four years, but he left the Thunder for a three-year, $87 million contract.

The Knicks also brought back forward Keita Bates-Diop from Brooklyn after signing Milton to a three-year, $9 million contract, which reportedly includes two non-guaranteed years.

Shake Milton has been added to the exchange. Charles Wenzelberg/New York Post

But Bates-Diop doesn’t count toward the Knicks’ salary because he makes minimum wage.

Bridges played in 474 consecutive games to start his NBA career and averaged 19.6 points with the Nets last season. He joins former Villanova teammates Jalen Brunson, Josh Hart and Donte DiVincenzo on the Knicks, who finished second in the Eastern Conference last season at 50-32 before losing to the Pacers in the second round of the playoffs due to a series of injuries.

The rebuilding Nets are acquiring four unprotected first-round picks from the Knicks (2025, 2027, 2029, 2031), a protected first-round pick in 2025 via the Bucks, an unprotected pick swap in 2028 and a second-round pick in 2025.

Keita Bates-Diop is now part of the blockbuster deal. Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

The Knicks have also reportedly signed first-round pick Pacome Dadiet (25th overall) for a below-rookie salary, which would equate to around $2.7 million for his draft spot.

The smaller signing, which Athletic reports represents 80 percent of that amount, would save the Knicks — who also paid a buyout fee to Dadiet’s club team in Germany — about $900,000 for hard cap purposes.

The 18-year-old French forward said on draft night that he plans to play here [in the NBA]”this season, instead of being stored in Europe.

The Knicks selected Tyler Kolek in the second round. Getty Images

Tyler Kolek, the second-round pick out of Marquette, has also reportedly agreed to a four-year, $9.06 million contract with the first three years guaranteed and a team option for the fourth year, through The Athletic.

There are no draft closing rules for players selected in the second round.

— Additional reporting by Stefan Bondy

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