With Stephen Curry and the much improved Golden State Warriors coming to town tomorrow night, it’s hard not to think of the possibilities that could have been if Curry were at the helm of the Knicks offense night in and night out. Remember, New York wanted Curry just as bad as Curry wanted New York, but it just wasn’t meant to be. For now, we take you back to the year 2009.
The 2009 NBA Draft was ever so important for the Knicks. With only one season left before superstars like LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Amar’e Stoudemire, Chris Bosh, Joe Johnson, and Carlos Boozer hit the open market, it was a must that the Knicks draft a rookie that could attract the attention of these marquee free agents. So in classic New York Knicks fashion, they selected Jordan Hill with the eighth overall pick. Stephen Curry made it known that he wanted to be nowhere but New York, but was taken one pick ahead of them, changing the direction of their rebuilding process. Let’s take a look at a couple of scenarios that could have played out if Curry was wearing blue and orange.
Scenario #1 – Stephen Curry drops to the eighth pick, attracts LeBron.
This scenario would have created a perfect world for the Knicks. At the time, every acquisition was made with the thought that LeBron could be on his way to New York. While Steph was raining threes in college, almost the whole United States stopped to tune in, including one LeBron James, who watched in awe as Curry dropped 33 points en route to a Davidson upset over Wisconsin in the NCAA Tournament just a few months earlier. With a season of experience under his belt, Curry is able to get LeBron to New York, giving the Knicks a starting line-up that looks like this:
PG – Stephen Curry
SG – Wilson Chandler
SF – LeBron James
PF – Danilo Gallinari
C – Amar’e Stoudemire
This probably isn’t enough defensively to win the championship, but remember even with two max player acquisitions, the Knicks still would have had some extra cash to throw at some defensive minded role players, and the ring chasing veterans would have come on the cheap. Gallinari and Wilson Chandler would make for great trade bait, giving them the ability to acquire whatever their biggest team need may have been. If LeBron James was ever going to average a triple-double, it would be in this line-up, with Mike D’Antoni running the show.
Scenario #2 - Knicks trade Wilson Chandler and the 8th pick for Washington’s 5th pick in order to acquire Curry. He’s still a Knick today.
Donnie Walsh earned the trust of every Knicks fan solely by clearing millions of dollars off the salary cap. I would never question anything he did (or still does), but this is the one deal I wish he pulled the trigger on. With the incoming superstars the Knicks were in position to sign, they never would have never been able to re-sign Chandler anyway, so while giving him away to move up in the draft may not have been the most sensical move at the time, looking back on it, it would have been the right move. Still, without Chandler, it’s highly unlikely that we would have been able to land Carmelo Anthony. This trade would have left our starting line-up looking like this come 2010:
PG – Stephen Curry
SG – Landry Fields
SF – Danilo Gallinari
PF – Amar’e Stoudemire
C – Ronny Turiaf/Timofey Mozgov
There’s no saying whether Denver would have been ok with taking Landry Fields instead of Wilson Chandler in a potential Melo deal. I like to think that Steph Curry would be untouchable, meaning without Raymond Felton, it’s hard to see the Knicks being able to afford their current team leader. While this team would certainly be entertaining and still have tons of upside and cap space (hopefully to sign Tyson Chandler the following offseason), it wouldn’t be competing for championships anytime soon.
Scenario #3 - Knicks draft Curry, but he’s traded to the Nuggets in due time.
This is probably the most likely scenario for the Knicks if they were able to get their hands on Curry. No matter what, James Dolan wanted two max superstars on this team, and what Dolan wants, Dolan gets. Walsh could have played hard ball with Denver all he wanted, but a deal doesn’t get done without a young piece like Steph Curry in it. With Dolan’s commands, Curry would have been a Nugget in no time, and the 2012-13 New York Knicks would look exactly as they do now.