As Thursday quickly approaches, the Knicks are currently positioned to pick 48th overall. I know, I know. Another year, another draft that the Knicks sit around with no first round pick, as rival teams get deeper and better equipped for the future.
But all is not lost. While it is highly unlikely the Knicks are able to pawn off the struggling Toney Douglas for a late first rounder, they do have some wiggle room. We can not “buy” a pick from a team looking to cut costs and avoid taking on another guaranteed deal – as the only $3M we had to spend this year (per the new CBA) was used in the cap clearing trade of Ronny Turiaf, which allowed us to sign Tyson Chandler. But there is a loophole.
As discussed earlier on twitter between @JonKnicksFan, @seth_rosenthal and myself (and later confirmed by my man Tommy Dee), Glen Grunwald and the Knicks are wisely equipped with a number of un-guaranteed contracts on the roster. Dan Gadzuric, Jerome Jordan and Josh Harrellson all have team options that may be waived or picked up before free agency begins on July 1st. Through these un-guaranteed deals, the Knicks may be able to help a team willing to dump a late 1st rounder to help cut costs by taking on an unwanted, guaranteed contract.
For example, let’s take the Oklahoma City Thunder, a team rumored to be willing to trade their pick (28th overall) in order to save some cash. Let’s say the Knicks offer Dan Gadzuric’s ~$1.3M contract, Jerome Jordan’s ~$750K contract, and the rights to Georgios Printezis (a steal in the Tyson Chandler sign & trade who oh, by the way, finished 2nd in the Greek League MVP voting) to the Thunder for their 28th pick and Cole Aldrich (and his ~$2.5M contract). Immediately following the trade, Oklahoma City can then waive both Gadzuric and Jordan, while retaining the rights to Printezis. In such a scenario, OKC would be saving ~$2.5 million dollars in payroll, while also acquiring a future asset in Georgios Printezis (a skillful, active PF) who is storable in Europe, at no cost, until they wish to negotiate with him.
While the Thunder are just one example, this proves the Knicks chances of entering the first round are very much alive come Thursday night. In my opinion, an early first, or early second rounder is a must for this roster. We need to surround our core with cheap, young assets, who can fill roles and help this team win now. While I am confident we can find a nice 4-year college player who can play a defined role at 48, having a first round pick would be much more comforting. As always, I am sure there will be TONS of rumors in the coming days, with the Knicks to be involved sooner than later. And ever since the amnesty of Chauncey Billups, which allowed for the signing of Tyson Chandler, I have no doubts in Glen Grunwald’s ability to get creative.