These audacious trades keep happening — teams trading three, four, five first-round picks for one player, the latest being the New York Knicks finally cashing in their diligently acquired stockpile in exchange for a 27-year-old crosstown rival who has made precisely zero All-Star games in (yup) Villanova University champion alumnus Mikal Bridges.

We didn’t use to see these kinds of almost-all-in megadeals. In July 2022, after pick-heavy deals for Dejounte Murray (a onetime All-Star, and an injury replacement at that) and Rudy Gobert, research from both Basketball Reference and ESPN’s Kevin Pelton found there had been seven trades in the preceding decade involving one team dealing away at least three future first-round picks — and that those seven accounted for one more such trade than had occurred in the entirety of NBA history from the ABA-NBA merger through 2012.

There have, remarkably, been four more in the two years since: the Phoenix Suns deal for Kevin Durant; the Cleveland Cavaliers acquisition of Donovan Mitchell; the Indiana Pacers nabbing Pascal Siakam; and the Knicks swapping five first-round picks — their own unprotected picks in 2025, 2027, 2029, and 2031, plus a protected 2025 first-rounder from the Milwaukee Bucks — for Bridges, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

That is obviously a ton for Bridges, an overpay if you consider the trade in a vacuum — which is not quite the right way to consider it. The Knicks gave up as many first-round picks for Bridges as the Wolves did for Gobert. They gave the Nets one more pick than Brooklyn received from Phoenix for Durant. It is, if you really go apples to oranges, wildly more than the Boston Celtics gave up for Jrue Holiday, Derrick White, or Kristaps Porzingis.

The history of these all-in trades suggests teams underestimate the downside risk of the later outbound picks, and that the deals don’t pay off as often as you’d expect if the stated goal is a championship or even a Finals appearance. That is the reasonable goal now for the Knicks, presuming they re-sign OG Anunoby — which remains their plan, sources told ESPN. (If they fail, the entire perception of this trade changes.)