On June 30th of 2013, just days after selecting Shooting Guard Tim Hardaway Jr with the 24th pick, the New York Knicks decided to abandon the youth movement once again when they acquired Andrea Bargnani for three draft picks and some cap fillers.
After the deal, Bargnani spent the duration of his ridiculous contract in New York making bone-headed plays all while eating up their cap space and preventing the team from going after any marquee free agents.
So now that his contract is off the books, he's moved across the bridge and we've all put the dunk behind us, why can’t we just move on?
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When Bargnani was acquired, the Knicks were not stockpiled with assets. The man who would become the Knicks most valuable trade piece, Tim Hardaway Jr, was still an unproven commodity at the time.
They didn’t want to let go of Shumpert because he was the best defender on a 54 win team. So that left them with no choice but to strike the deal using draft picks as bait.
The Knicks sent their 2014 and 2017 second round draft picks as well as their 2016 first round pick to the Raptors in exchange for the Italian.
That’s a lot to give for a player who is only relevant on one side of the floor. Now in 2015-16, coming off a 17 win season, the 2016 first rounder that the team surrendered is now a projected lottery pick.
The Knicks have depth problems at just about every position so a mid-late lottery pick, as well as adding another player the next year, would have been a great thing for the struggling franchise.
History of Losing
When the Knicks set out in this year’s free agent market, they had big goals and intended to hit a home run that would put their team in a whole new direction.
Apparently, though, the best players in the league don’t want to come to a team that loses, even if it is in New York.
In the two seasons with Bargnani on the roster, the team has failed to make the playoffs and have been among the league worst in defensive efficiency. That is not to say Bargnani should shoulder all of the blame, but that type of steep decline is enough to scare away big name free agents from a healthy market like New York.
While this is not a direct cause of the trade, it will certainly be a lot more difficult to overcome as all draft picks surrendered in the Bargnani trade will be in the past starting in 2018.
If the Knicks don’t surprise the league this year or the next, it might be a long road to the finish line for a title-desperate squad.