7 Trades Involving Knicks Draft Picks

Over the last 20 years, the New York Knicks have had many struggles with the NBA Draft.

One way the Knicks have screwed up the draft is simply by not having a pick as the Knicks have acquired some good players, while trading away too many assets, including picks.

The Knicks acquired the following players, trading mostly first round picks. Here’s the key caveat – many of these picks were surrendered years after the trade was complete, and in some cases after the player was long gone.

Andrea Bargnani

Details: Traded 2016 first round pick, two second round picks, Marcus Camby, Steve Novak, and Quentin Richardson for Bargnani (August 2013)

How it ended: Bargnani played just 71 games over two seasons with the Knicks, due to injuries. Bargnani wasn’t even on the Knicks in 2015-16, the season before this pick was conveyed to Toronto. When he was healthy, he was horrible. He averaged 13.9 ppg and shot 30% from three and never fit in to what the Knicks wanted to do.

At least we got this highlight…

About the pick: 3 years after the trade was made and one year after Bargnani had left the Knicks, this pick was officially conveyed to the Raptors in 2016.

In 2016, the Raptors draft Jacob Poeltl with the #9 pick. Two years later, he was included in the trade for Kawhi Leonard.

2016 was also the final stipulation from the Carmelo Anthony trade with Denver. Nuggets owned the right to a pick swap with the Knicks, which they applied. Initially, the Knicks were slotted to pick 7th and the pick belonged outright to Toronto, no matter what. But Denver, set to pick 9th, was able to automatically swap slots with Toronto, per the trade terms. Nuggets drafted guard Jamal Murray #7.

Carmelo Anthony

Details: Traded 2014 first round pick, rights to pick swap in 2016, two second round picks, Danilo Gallinari, Wilson Chandler, Raymond Felton, and Timofey Mozgov for Anthony and Chauncey Billups (February 2011)

The problem with the trade was they gave away everything. They traded their first round picks from 2007 (Chandler) and 2008 (Gallinari) and a future outright pick in 2014 (Dario Saric) PLUS a pick swap in 2016 (Jamal Murray). That’s essentially 4 first round picks. In hindsight, it didn’t work out. But even in the moment, many doubted that it would – less because they doubted ‘Melo, but more because of the enormous package the Knicks had to sacrifice.

How it ended: Anthony was great for the Knicks. This is the one player the Knicks acquired who definitely panned out. He appeared in 6 All Star games and helped NY finish first in 2013, which included their first playoff series victory since 2000.

But the supporting cast was depleted because of the trade. And it ended poorly because of a bad relationship with former team President Phil Jackson. Anthony didn’t necessarily want to be traded, but the front office made it clear they didn’t see a future that included him.

Before the start of the 2017-18 season, was traded to OKC Thunder for Enes Kanter, Doug McDermott, and a second round pick that became Mitchell Robinson.

About the pick: Three years after the trade was made, the pick was cashed in. But it was the Orlando Magic, not the Nuggets who had the rights to the pick. This pick was later part of a blockbuster trade that sent Andre Iguodala to the Nuggets, Dwight Howard to the Lakers, among many other moving pieces.

Dario Saric was picked 12th by the Magic with the Knicks pick and traded immediately on draft to the 76ers for the #10 pick, Elfrid Payton. Ironically, Payton is now a Knick in 2020.

Tracy McGrady

Details: Traded 2012 first round pick, Jordan Hill, Jared Jeffries to Rockets for Tracy McGrady (January 2010)

Remember when the Knicks traded Kristaps Porzingis for cap space to pursue Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving in 2019? That’s what happened here, 10 years earlier.

Knicks needed to shed Jared Jeffries’ contract in order to potentially afford two max contracts in the summer of 2010 – Lebron James and a co-star (Chris Bosh?). The cost of trading Jeffries was Hill, their 2011 first round pick and a future first round pick (2012).

For their efforts, the Knicks got Tracy McGrady. But not THE Tracy McGrady, they got the well-past-his-prime T-Mac.

How it ended: McGrady played 35 games the year prior and had played just 6 games that season, before coming to NYC. He played 24 games as a Knick (starting all 24), averaging 26.1 mpg and scoring 9.4 ppg. For a minute, the Garden had electricity. But as time went on, it was clear, McGrady was a shell and the Knicks had simply acquired cap space.

That money was not used on James (or Dwayne Wade or Chris Bosh). It was used on Amare Stoudemire, who did have a good run with the Knicks. But was always an overpay due to his chronic knee pains.

About the pick: Rockets drafted Royce White with the 16th pick. White never played for the Rockets and only played 3 games in the NBA due to, among other reasons, anxiety issues.

Eddy Curry

Details: Traded 2006 first round pick, rights to swap picks in 2007, two second round picks (2007, 2009), Michael Sweetney, Tim Thomas, and Jermaine Jackson for Curry and Antonio Davis (October 2005).

When he was acquired from the Bulls in 2005, he was coming off a missed postseason due to an irregular heartbeat issue. He also struggled with his weight, showed an inability to rebound, and was a poor defender. Basically, he wasn’t that good. But for the Knicks, he was good enough to trade 2 future first round picks.

How it ended: Ugh.

In 4.5 seasons with the Knicks, Curry averaged 15.2 ppg and 5.8 rpg. His numbers were solid, but the truth is he wasn’t very good. In 2008, upon Mike D’Antoni’s arrival in NY, Curry was benched. He was on the roster, but played just 3 games. He played 7 games the next year, before being shipped off to Minnesota as part of the Carmelo Anthony trade.

About the picks: In 2006, the Knicks pick ended up at #2. The Bulls drafted LaMarcus Aldridge, but would immediately trade him on draft night to the Blazers for the 4th pick, Tyrus Thomas.

In 2007, the teams executed the pick swap, with the Knicks pick at 9 and the Bulls pick at 23. Bulls would draft Joakim Noah, who was coming off back-to-back NCAA Championships with Florida and would become an integral part of the Bulls’ break through in the early 2010s. At 23, Knicks took Wilson Chandler, who was later traded for Anthony.

Stephon Marbury

Details: Traded 2004 first round pick, future first round pick (lottery-protected through 2010), Antonio McDyess, Howard Eisley, Charlie Ward, Maciej Lampe, Milos Vujanic for Marbury and Penny Hardaway

One month later, the Suns traded both Knicks picks AND Tom Gugliotta to the Jazz for cap relief.

How it ended: For Marbury and the Knicks, it ended like almost every other relationship with the franchise over the last 20 years – horribly.

There was a “sexual harassment” situation that Marbury had to testify in, involving team President Isaiah Thomas. Marbury and Thomas clashed on the court too, as Thomas benched him in 2007 and Marbury opted for surgery so that he could sit out the rest of the season, without consequences. Marbury played just 23 games in 2007-08.

When Mike D’Antoni arrived in 2008, the Knicks immediately signed Chris Duhon, to supplant Marbury, who remained on the roster until February 2009, when he and the team finally agreed to a buyout.

It was an ugly ending, in a history of ugly endings for the franchise. Marbury did average 18.2 ppg and 7.0 apg during his time with the Knicks.

About the picks: Jazz controlled both Knicks picks. In 2004, they drafted Kirk Snyder 16th overall.

The other first round pick was lottery protected through 2010. By 2010, the Knicks playoff drought reached 6 years – their longest since 1966! Knicks pick would land at #10 in 2010 and the Jazz drafted Gordon Hayward, who would become the new face of the franchise.

Antonio McDyess

Details: Traded rights to 2002 #7 Nene, Marcus Camby, Mark Jackson for McDyess and a 2002 first round pick (PG Frank Williams).

Knicks actually made the #7 pick, selecting Nene Hilario (now known just as Nene). Nene was taken right before Amare Stoudemire (9) and Caron Butler (10).

How it ended: From 1995-2001, McDyess missed just 28 games and averaged 18 ppg and 9 rpg with the Nuggets. Then, he played only 10 games in 2001-02 due to a serious leg injury. He was traded to the Knicks that summer, re-injured his knee in pre-season and missed the entire 2002-03 season. The next season, he would play 18 games in 2003-04, before being traded as part of the package for Marbury.

About the pick: Nene played 10 seasons in Denver, averaging 12.4 ppg and 7.0 rpg. He made the NBA All-Rookie First Team in 2003. He had a very successful 18 year career.

Trading Patrick Ewing

This is….complicated.

Let’s keep the focus on the draft picks only.

As part of a 4-team 12-player trade in 2000 that sent Patrick Ewing to the Seattle Sonics, the Knicks received a first round pick from Seattle and one from Los Angeles. They also traded one (and Chris Dudley) to the Suns.

About the picks: Let’s start with the 2001 Draft.

Rockets had the #18 pick, which originally belonged to the Knicks and was traded to the Suns, and later to Houston. The Rockets drafted Jason Collins, who was traded immediately to the Nets on draft night and had a solid career. Collins was a starter at center for the Nets Finals’ teams in 2002 and 2003.

Grizzlies, at #27, drafted PG Jamaal Tinsley and immediately traded him to the Pacers. That pick initially belonged to the Lakers, and was traded to the Knicks. Later, the Knicks traded that pick to the Grizzlies for Othella Harrington.

In the 2002 Draft, the first round pick the Knicks received from the Sonics, belonged to the Raptors. In February 2001, the Knicks traded this pick to Toronto, along with Chris Childs for their former PG Mark Jackson and Mugsy Bogues (who never played for the team). Raptors used the #20 pick to draft Kareem Rush, who was immediately traded to the Lakers.

Did any of that make sense? In a nutshell, the Knicks traded away three first round picks, one of their own and two via other teams. The three teams that received the initial picks, all traded them too. And the Knicks received virtually nothing in exchange for these multiple transactions.


Part 2Draft picks who spent two years or less on Knicks

Part 3Good picks, bad endings

Mike is a member of the FWAA (Football Writers Association of America) and an alum of the University of Cincinnati.

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