The five worst trades in Knicks history

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On Wednesday, Phil Jackson made the biggest trade during his two-plus years as president of the Knicks, acquiring point guard Derrick Rose from the Bulls, along with Justin Holiday and a future second-rounder, in exchange for center Robin Lopez, and guards Jose Calderon and Jerian Grant. It may also be the biggest risk he’s taken during his tenure next to drafting Kristaps Porzingis.

Rose, 27, has missed half of the Bulls’ regular season games over the past four years and will be a free agent after next season. Lopez and Grant, on the other hand, were signed through at least the 2018–19 season on affordable deals, and Calderon’s deal, while unsightly, was due to expire next summer.

The deal could work out in the Knicks’ favor, but chances of that happening aren’t grand considering Rose’s long history of injuries.

Knicks make desperate play to get Rose | SI Vault: Rose’s rise to MVP

With that, we decided to examine the five worst trades in Knicks history. The franchise has taken a multitude of big risks by mortgaging its future and hasn’t had a high success rate doing so.

5. Antonio McDyess, 2002

Photo: Catherine Steenkeste/NBAE via Getty Images

Knicks receive from Nuggets: Antonio McDyess, rights to Frank Williams, 2003 second-round pick (Maciej Lampe)
Knicks give: Marcus Camby, Mark Jackson, rights to Nené

McDyess missed the entire 2002–03 season due to a Patellar tendon injury, and played in just 18 games the following year before he was traded away to the Suns for Stephon Marbury. He went on to become a valuable role player off the bench, and Nené has put together 15 solid seasons, averaging around 15 points and eight rebounds per game at his peak. Losing Camby and Jackson wouldn’t have been the biggest deal if McDyess was anything close to the player he was before his knee injury.

4. Steve Francis, 2006

Photo: Fernando Medina/NBAE via Getty Images

Knicks receive from Magic: Steve Francis
Knicks give: Trevor Ariza, Penny Hardaway

The Knicks had a vision of pairing Francis and Stephon Marbury in a killer backcourt, but wound up with a once-great player on his last legs. Francis averaged 21.3 points, 7 assists and 5.8 rebounds for Houston in 2004–05, dropped off a bit in his first 46 games in ’05–06 and then absolutely tanked once he arrived in New York.

Trevor Ariza has given several teams great minutes off the bench with his athleticism. He was a solid second-round find for the Knicks, but they were never able to reap the rewards.

3. Patrick Ewing, 2000

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Knicks receive: Glen Rice, Luc Longley, Travis Knight, Vernon Maxwell, Vladimir Stepania, Lazaro Borrell, 2001 first-round pick (Jamaal Tinsley), two 2001 second-round picks (Michael Wright and Eric Chenowith), 2002 first-round pick (Kareem Rush)
Knicks give: Patrick Ewing, Chris Dudley​ (and his really giant shoes), 2001 first-round pick (Jason Collins)​

This is a move that really upset the Knicks’ fan base, and sort of disrespected Ewing, though it wasn’t incredibly catastrophic by Knicks standards.

In this four-team trade (the pieces exchanged between non-Knicks parties have been excluded) New York added almost $90 million of salary through 2004, and sent away a franchise legend before he could retire with the team. In the grand scheme of things, the Knicks really got nothing in return for Ewing; Longley played in 25 games before retiring, Rice hit some threes in his lone season, and if you’re under the age of 25, you’ve likely never heard of the remaining players in the package the Knicks received. 

From SI Longform: Knicks get lucky with Patrick Ewing draft lottery

2. Eddy Curry, 2005

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Knicks receive from Bulls: Eddy Curry, Antonio Davis, the right to swap 2007 first-round picks with the Bulls (Knicks eventually select Wilson Chandler)
Knicks give: Tim Thomas, Mike Sweetney, Jermaine Jackson, pick swaps in 2006 and 2007 (LaMarcus Aldridge and Joakim Noah), 2007 second-round pick (Kyrylo Fesenko), 2009 second-round pick (Jon Brockman).​

Before the Bargnani trade, this was far and away the worst trade in team history. The Knicks were forced to select Renaldo Balkman, a head-scratcher, instead of Aldridge at No. 2 in 2006, and then Chandler at No. 23 the following year instead of Noah, Spencer Hawes or Thad Young at No. 7.

And, it was all for nothing. Curry had one good season for the Knicks, signing a long-term deal, and then missing a considerable amount of time due to weight issues and legal troubles.

Photos of the biggest NBA draft busts of alltime

1. Andrea Bargnani

Photo: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

Knicks receive from Raptors: Andrea Bargnani
Knicks give: Marcus Camby, Steve Novak, Quentin Richardson, 2014 second-round pick (Xavier Thames), 2016 first-round draft pick, 2017 second-round pick

This may be one of the worst trades in league history, in addition to the worst in team history. The Knicks acquired Bargnani, a former No. 1 pick coming off a disappointing season, from the Raptors in exchange for three draft picks. Three! One of which was a first-rounder.

Bargnani took up a ton of cap room (north of $11 million), played miserable defense and missed a ton of time due to injury with the Knicks. He was detrimental to the team’s development.

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