Donnie Walsh has put the Knicks in position to sign at least two maximum salaried free agents. The Knicks will send Jared Jeffries and Jordan Hill to the Rockets for former all-star Tracy McGrady. The Knicks will also send Larry Hughes to the Kings. The Rockets will send Carl Landry and Joey Dorsey to the Kings. Kevin Martin will go to the Rockets and PG Sergio Rodriguez will come to New York. The Rockets will have the option of exchanging draft picks with the Knicks in 2011. The Knicks will surrender their 2012 first round pick to the Rockets as well, but it will be protected.
The move saves the Knicks $9,552,920 in 2010 and give the team a chance to build a dynasty by luring LeBron James and another elite free agent such as Dwyane Wade or Chris Bosh. The Knicks will sacrifice the 22 year old Hill, who projects as a rotation player or low tier starter and a draft pick in 2012 that could be towards the bottom of the draft if the Knicks improve.
The draft pick in 2012 could be towards the bottom of the draft if the Knicks improve.
Even if the Knicks do not land James, they can explore infinite options to rebuild in the summer of 2010, by far the most talent laden of any forthcoming summer. If the Knicks do improve, there is a chance the 2012 draft pick they surrendered will be in the 20′s or higher. If that is the case, it will be easily replaceable for cash considerations. For example, Donnie Walsh purchased the rights to the 29th pick this year (Toney Douglas) from the Lakers.
The 2011 draft pick swap will be at Houston’s option. It is conceivable, depending on whether and by how much the Knicks improve, that Houston will not exercise its option.
Brian Windhorst of the Cleveland Plain Dealer called the prospect of this trade a “game changer.” “[A]n extremely well-connected NBA source” told Alan Hahn that “[i]f this trade happens, Donnie Walsh should be Executive of the Year.”
My own take? The Knicks are gambling, but the risk-reward calculus greatly favors a deal. The Knicks have increased the likelihood of landing one of the best, if not the best player to ever play the game of basketball. If they fail, they continue down the path of a middling 4-6 seed that would surely await them without the McGrady trade as they slowly improve and the superior teams slowly deteriorate over the next decade-plus. If they succeed, a new dynasty could be on the horizon.