Mikal Bridges trade gives Knicks second chance after 2018 draft mistake

Mikal Bridges thought he would join the Knicks six years before that happened. Now the organization is bidding for contention with a very expensive draft overhaul.

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

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

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

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

The Knicks signed Kevin Knox from Kentucky after being impressed with his pre-draft workout.

Bridges was selected immediately afterward, initially by the Sixers, who traded him to the Suns in another regrettable move, and three of the next four picks included MVP candidate Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, the questionable but undoubtedly talented Miles Bridges and NBA champion Michael Porter Jr.

Knox is out of the NBA.

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

The cost was five first-round picks and a trade sent to the rival Nets for Bridges, emphatically opening the Knicks’ win-now window.

The Knicks selected Kevin Knox with the 9th pick in the 2018 NBA Draft. Anthony J. Causi

Bridges, while effusive Tuesday about the opportunity to finally call MSG home, denied the report that he requested a trade from the Nets or was headed to the Knicks.

“I’m not like that,” he said. “I’m not.”

According to Sean Marks, Bridges received notice from the Nets general manager that the trade was “on the 2-yard line.”

Bridges learned the deal had closed while 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 New York Post

“I think it was dark outside or something, but it was crazy. It was wild,” Bridges said. “(Bane) was just standing there screaming from afar, like, ‘Hey! Did you see that?’ I was like, ‘This is crazy,’ so it was cool.”

In addition to triggering memories of the Knicks’ woeful 2018 draft, the most famous trade represents a Villanova reunion following a public recruitment by 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 basking in the adulation of New York City.

The feeling of FOMO would have been understandable on Bridges’ part and he acknowledged Saturday that applauding his success was difficult while enduring Hart’s taunts.

“I wasn’t really that supportive of them,” Bridges said. “I don’t need them to always have the upper hand on me.”

Knicks’ new 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 great to be a Knick,” said Bridges, a Philadelphia native. “I thought I was going to be here in 2018, and I love everything about the team. (Tom Thibodeau), the crowd. MSG. All of that. It’s history. … When I think about basketball when I was young, and old school, I always thought about the Knicks. That’s what you think about. MSG. The New York song. The Knicks song. All of that stuff.”