Before acquiring Emmanuel Mudiay, the Knicks explored trading for a similar player: Elfrid Payton, according to Frank Isola of NY Daily News.
Isola reports that the Magic asked for Frank Ntilikina in return, which the Knicks would not do. Instead, they turned their attention to Mudiay for Doug McDermott and a second round pick, a lesser package as the Knicks didn't view McDermott in their long-term plans.
Payton and Mudiay are similar players. They are young, former lottery picks who are athletic but struggle shooting. Mudiay is considered to be a slightly better defender and is younger. Shortly after the Knicks completed the Mudiay deal, Payton was traded to the Suns for a second-round pick.
Mudiay, 21, averaged 8.5 points, 2.9 assists, and 2.2 rebounds in 42 games for the Nuggets this season, while averaging 17.9 minutes per game.
Payton, 23, averaged 13 points, 6.3 assists and 4 rebounds in 44 games for the Magic this season, while averaging 28.6 minutes per game.
The Knicks interest in Mudiay isn't surprising. Before the team drafted Kristaps Porzingis, there were rumors the point-guard starved team would draft Mudiay. Their interest in Payton isn't surprising either as GM Scott Perry worked with the Magic when they drafted the guard in 2014.