The SB Nation basketball friends have arranged to do coordinated weekly posts for these dog days of the NBA offseason. This week's topic is "Best Trade Ever"-- reflecting on the best trade your team ever made. Looking back through Knicks history, there have been some big, crucial trades. Several key members of the 1970 and 1973 championship teams-- guys like Dick Barnett, Dave DeBusschere, and Earl Monroe-- were acquired via trade. Bernard King was received in a trade for Micheal Ray Richardson and a draft pick. Members of the teams I grew up with-- guys like Charles Oakley, Larry Johnson, Marcus Camby, and Latrell Sprewell-- were trade acquisitions. The Camby and Sprewell trades, in particular, stand out as deals that shipped out key Knicks and some of my childhood favorites (Oakley and John Starks, respectively. I really liked Chris Mills, too, and the trade in which New York sent out all of their lame 1997 draft picks to get him was pretty hilarious), but paid off pretty nicely.
Anyway, if you skip the last decade or so in your reminiscence, you can find plenty of wonderful Knicks trades that served to create some of the finest teams in Knicks history. However, this being P&T and me being me, I'm most curious to see how the Knicks have fared in that last decade or so. Since about the time the Knicks traded away Patrick Ewing in a massive deal that my tiny 11 year-old brain could hardly comprehend, a succession of front offices have made a litany of trades big and small. Not one of them stands out in my memory as the "best". I can't even think of many-- at least not significant ones-- that were unequivocally good.
So, I've been poking around Pro Sports Transactions for the last day or two to jog my memory, and I'd now like to present to you a chronological list of every trade the Knicks have made since that Ewing deal. Brace yourself, or perhaps just skip this entirely and save yourself the sorrow.
Note that I haven't included any salary figures, and those kind of matter. Picks that were conditional somehow have been simplified to whatever/whoever they actually ended up being. I'm not including cash-for-pick trades. I'm also not including huge free agent signings that were technically trades (Amar'e Stoudemire, Tyson Chandler).
9/20/2000: Knicks acquire Luc Longley, Glen Rice, Travis Knight, Vernon Maxwell, Vladimir Stepania, Lazaro Borrell, a 2001 first-rounder (Jamaal Tinsley), two 2001 second-rounders (Michael Wright and Eric Chenowith, and a 2002 first-rounder (Kareem Rush) in exchange for Patrick Ewing, Chris Dudley, and a 2001 first-rounder (Jason Collins).
1/30/2001: Knicks acquire Othella Harrington in exchange for Erick Strickland, a 2001 first-rounder (Jamaal Tinsley), and a 2001 second-rounder (Antonis Fotsis)
2/22/2001: Knicks acquire Mark Jackson and Muggsy Bogues in exchange for Chris Childs and a 2002 first-rounder (Kareem Rush). I remember exactly where I was when this happened, and I'm pretty sure I remember SportsCenter mistakenly saying it was MARC Jackson the first time it ran through the ticker.
6/26/2002: Knicks acquire Antonio McDyess, the rights to Frank Williams, and a 2003 second-rounder (fucking Maciej Lampe) in exchange for Marcus Camby, Mark Jackson, and the rights to Nene, back when he was still Maybner Hilario. THIS WAS NOT THE BEST TRADE EVER.
7/23/2003: Knicks acquire Keith Van Horn in exchange for Latrell Sprewell (part of a four-team deal)
12/30/2003: Knicks acquire Moochie Norris and John Amaechi in exchange for Clarence Weatherspoon.
1/5/2004: Knicks acquire Stephon Marbury, Penny Hardaway, and Cezary Trybanski in exchange for Antonio McDyess, Howard Eisley, Maciej Lampe, Charlie Ward, the rights to Milos Vujanic, a 2004 first-rounder (Kirk Snyder) and a heavily protected first-rounder that eventually became Gordon Hayward in 2010. Oh, and $3 million.
8/5/2004: Knicks acquire Jamal Crawford and Jerome Williams in exchange for Othella Harrington, Frank Williams, Dikembe Mutombo, and Cezary Trybanski. (This is one of those where it's important to remember that Crawford was signed-and-traded. (Seven years, $56 million, y'all).)
10/4/2004: Knicks sign Mengke Bateer. Not a trade, but still the best.
10/4/2005: Knicks acquire Eddy Curry, Antonio Davis, and the right to swap 2007 first-rounders with the Bulls (ended up being Wilson Chandler) in exchange for Tim Thomas, Mike Sweetney, Jermaine Jackson, pick swaps in 2006 and 2007 that ended up being LaMarcus Aldridge and Joakim Noah, a 2007 second-rounder (Kyrylo Fesenko), and a 2009 second-rounder (Jon Brockman). Guhhh.
11/21/2008: Knicks acquire Al Harrington in exchange for Jamal Crawford.
11/21/2008: Knicks acquire Tim Thomas and Cuttino Mobley in exchange for Zach Randolph and Mardy Collins. That was a weird day.
2/19/2009: Knicks acquire Chris Wilcox in exchange for Malik Rose and cash considerations. That was a weird day, too.
6/25/2009: Knicks acquire Darko Milicic in exchange for Quentin Richardson and cash.
2/17/2008: Knicks acquire Brian Cardinal in exchange for Darko Milicic and cash.
7/9/2010: Knicks acquire Ronny Turiaf, Kelenna Azubuike, and Anthony Randolph in exchange for David Lee. (That seemed like an amazing sign-and-trade at the time, didn't it? Still better than letting Lee walk for free.)
2/22/2011: Knicks acquire Carmelo Anthony, Chauncey Billups, Renaldo Balkman, Anthony Carter, Shelden Williams, and Corey Brewer in exchange for Danilo Gallinari, Wilson Chandler, Raymond Felton, Timofey Mozgov, and every pick ever.
7/15/2012: Knicks acquire Raymond Felton and Kurt Thomas in exchange for Jared Jeffries, Dan Gadzuric, the rights to Kostas Papanikolaou, the rights to Giorgios Printezis, a 2016 second-rounder, and cash considerations.
Well, that was a thoroughly depressing exercise. I count 29 trades (again, excluding cash-for-picks and the Stoudemire and Chandler "trades") since the Patrick Ewing deal. I have no idea which one was the best. If I had to pick...those Isiah Thomas deals in '05-- getting Rose and the pick that became Lee for just Mohammed and Brewer, then getting Q-Rich and Nate for just Kurt Thomas and Dijon Thompson-- turned out okay, not that they especially mattered. The McGrady deal ended up being okay, too, since it opened up all that cap space and didn't end up totally killing New York picks-wise. Other than that, everything else seems either horrifyingly dismal, too small to matter, or huge but ultimately too costly or unproductive. Many of us still have mixed feelings about it, but honestly, if things go well, the Melo deal could end up being the best of the bunch.
Yeap. The Knicks have made plenty of great trades over the years, but since they made that one huge one, nothing really stands out as the "Best Trade Ever". Not even close, really. I'd love to hear your thoughts on this matter, and also your recollections of the great trades of yesteryear.