So much for a quiet offseason.
Howard Beck of the New York Times was first to report that the Knicks and Raptors have agreed to a deal that will bring former first overall draft pick Andrea Bargnani to New York in exchange for Marcus Camby, Steve Novak, their 2016 first round pick and two future second round picks. Yes, you counted correctly, that’s three draft choices for Andrea Bargnani.
Taking the draft picks out of this (we’ll get to it), this isn’t a TERRIBLE deal for the Knicks. Financially, it makes sense. The Knicks have gotten out of two bad contracts. Novak’s runs through 2015-16 and Camby’s through 2014-15, and neither player is worth the money or the length of time that the Knicks were paying them. Bargnani has two years and $22 million remaining on his deal, meaning it expires the same time as the rest of the team’s core. Carmelo Anthony, Amar’e Stoudemire and Tyson Chandler’s contracts all run through 2014-15 as well (Anthony and Stoudemire have early termination options after this upcoming season), so the Knicks are clearly in a two-year window right now. Bargnani can shoot (sort of).
But did the Knicks really have to give up THREE draft choices for one of the most underachieving, underwhelming players in the entire league? It’s still possible to be in “go for it” mode without surrendering all of your assets years down the road, but the Knicks have made a habit over the past 20 years of doing exactly that. Yes, the 2016 first round pick probably won’t be a very high one, and second round picks aren’t exactly a sure thing, but they’re still assets. Draft picks, even second rounders, give a team flexibility. The Knicks never seem to have that much flexibility, and part of the reason is because they’re always dealing away draft picks.
Outside of the draft pick nonsense at play here, there’s definitely a serious question as to how much Bargnani actually helps the Knicks. I would have to believe that the Knicks may not be done dealing and what not, because with Bargnani in tow, New York is a pretty strange basketball team. Does Bargnani start? If he does, that moves Carmelo Anthony back to small forward after just one season of dominant scoring as a power forward. Does Bargnani come off the bench? If so, he’s probably be sharing the court with Stoudemire, which would create the worst defensive frontcourt in the league, hands down. Maybe even league history, honestly. And as for the whole “he’s a shooter” thing, his shooting numbers have declined pretty steadily over the past few years. Maybe a change of scenery will help. Let’s hope.
For now, Bargnani is a Knick. Novak will take the Discount Double Check to Toronto, and Camby’s basketball life has now come full circle. Thanks for your years as Knicks, guys.