The 2014 NBA Draft is expected to be one of the best drafts in decades, and the New York Knicks don’t have a first-round pick.
New York, which will likely finish the season with one of the 10 worst records in the league, traded the pick to Denver in 2011 as part of the blockbuster, three-team, 13-player Carmelo Anthony trade.
Here’s the full trade:
Knicks got: Carmelo Anthony, Chauncey Billups, Renaldo Balkman, Shelden Williams, Anthony Carter, Corey Brewer (from Minnesota)
Nuggets got: Wilson Chandler, Danilo Gallinari, Raymond Felton, Timofey Mozgov, 2014 1st-round pick (from NYK), two 2nd-round picks (from NYK), right to swap 2016 1st-round picks, $US3 million, Kosta Koufos (from Minnesota)
Timberwolves got: Eddy Curry, Anthony Randolph, $US3 million, 2nd-round pick (from Denver)
It turns out that the Knicks were actually trying to keep their 2014 1st-round pick.
Ian Thomson of Sports Illustrated reported that the Knicks were going to trade for Minnesota’s first round pick and include it in the Carmelo package rather than giving up a pick of their own:
“The Nuggets have long been pessimistic about trading Anthony to New York because the Knicks lack draft picks. One hold up in a potential trade had been the Knicks’ refusal to surrender Danilo Gallinari, though according to Yahoo! Sports, the Knicks are now packaging a deal with Gallinari, Raymond Felton, Wilson Chandler, Eddy Curry’s expiring contract and a first-round pick for Anthony, Billups and salary-cap filler. That first-round pick is rumoured to come from Minnesota, who would receive 6-foot-11 Anthony Randolph.”
That’s not what happened.
Instead of Minnesota sending a first-round pick to New York, they sent Corey Brewer — who the Knicks immediately waved.
Another contributing factor here is the bidding war that the Knicks got into with the then-New Jersey Nets.
While Carmelo made it clear he wanted to go to New York, the Nets still had a better trade package to offer Denver. On at least one occasion the Nets and Nuggets got so close to pulling the trigger on a move that it motivated New York to throw Danilo Gallinari into the deal, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo. The Knicks had to gut their team and give away a 1st-round pick, largely because their neighbours were putting so much on the table.
Carmelo wanted to go to New York, and nowhere else. He could have signed there as a free agent at the end of the 2011 season — a move that would have left the core of the team intact, and given the Knicks better flexibility going forward. But if he did that he would have had to sign a contract under the new collective bargaining agreement, which would have cost him a lot of money.
So instead of waiting until the end of the year, Carmelo forced a sign-and-trade to New York in February.
It’s a sound financial decision, and as one of the best players in the league he was well within his rights to get paid every penny of what he’s worth. But Carmelo’s insistence on forcing a trade rather than waiting for free agency stripped the team of almost every asset it had, including the 2014 1st-round pick that’s looking so valuable right now.
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