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Mikal Bridges trade gives Knicks pricey do-over after brutal 2018 draft mistake



Mikal Bridges trade gives Knicks pricey do-over after brutal 2018 draft mistake

Mikal Bridges thought he was joining the Knicks six years before it happened. Now the organization is banking on contention with a very pricey draft do-over.

As he revealed at his introductory press conference Tuesday, Bridges believed he was going to the Knicks with the ninth pick in 2018.

Instead, they made one of the worst draft mistakes in franchise history.

“I was at the draft and I’m like, ‘I’m going to play at MSG.’ Like, ‘It’s time. Going to love it there,’ ” Bridges said, adding later, “I really thought I was going.”

Mikal Bridges speaks to reporters during his Knicks introductory press conference on Tuesday. Charles Wenzelberg / New York Post

The Knicks took Kentucky’s Kevin Knox after being awed by his pre-draft workout.

Bridges was drafted immediately after — initially by the Sixers, who swapped him to the Suns in another regrettable move — and three of the four following picks included MVP candidate Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, questionable character but unquestionably talented Miles Bridges and NBA champion Michael Porter Jr.

Knox is out of the NBA.

That mistake from Steve Mills and Scott Perry now has a price.

The cost was five first-round picks and a swap shipped to the rival Nets for Bridges, emphatically swinging open the Knicks win-now window.

The Knicks took Kevin Knox with the No. 9 pick in the 2018 NBA Draft. Anthony J Causi

Bridges, though effusive Tuesday about the opportunity to finally call MSG home, denied the report that he either requested a trade from the Nets or angled his way to the Knicks.

“It’s just not who I am,” he said. “It’s not.”

Bridges, according to Sean Marks, was provided a heads up from the Nets GM that the trade was “at the 2-yard line.”

Bridges learned the deal was complete while hanging out at the Texas lake house of Memphis guard and “one of my close friends” Desmond Bane.

Kevin Knox is currently out of the NBA. Corey Sipkin for the NY Post

“I think it was dark outside or something, but it was crazy. It was wild,” Bridges said. “[Bane’s] just over there just screaming from afar, like, ‘Yo! Did you see?’ I’m like, ‘This is crazy,’ so it was cool.”

In addition to prompting flashbacks to the Knicks’ regrettable 2018 draft, the trade most famously represents a Villanova reunion following a public recruitment from Josh Hart.

Last season, Bridges was struggling on a lottery-bound Nets team while his former ’Nova teammates — Hart, Jalen Brunson and Donte DiVincenzo — were winning 50 games and soaking up NYC’s adulation.

FOMO would’ve been understandable from Bridges and he acknowledged Saturday that cheering for their success was difficult while enduring taunts from Hart.

“I wasn’t really rooting for them that much, man,” Bridges said. “I don’t need them to always have an edge on me.”

New Knicks star Mikal Bridges addresses the media on Tuesday. Charles Wenzelberg / New York Post

Now they can celebrate together, and the Knicks have a chance to add a happy epilogue to their terrible 2018 draft.

“It’s surreal. It’s dope to be a Knick,” Bridges, a Philly native, said. “I thought I was gonna be here in 2018, and I love everything about the team. [Tom Thibodeau], the crowd. MSG. All that. It’s the history. … When I think about basketball when I was young, and the old school, it was always the Knicks. That’s what you think about. MSG. The New York song. The Knicks song. All that stuff.”

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