Trades, like draft picks, are very risky and the most exciting thing about sports. Every fan wants to be able to brag that they "fleeced" another team. In reality, trades are generally pretty even.
Unless you are a Knick fan.
Whether it be for cap space, or a shot in the arm, trades can have a huge impact on a team and can also impact an executive's legacy.
Scott Layden knew the Knicks were in trouble following a 30 win season in 2001-02, which saw Marcus Camby struggle with injury and Jeff Van Gundy walk 19 games into the season. So the team shipped Mark Jackson, who didn't help their playoff cause after being reacquired for Chris Childs in February of 2001, Camby and the rights to Nene Hilario for Antonio McDyess and the 25th pick. At the time, it was a risk, but the reward far outweighed the risk for me at the time. McDyess was coming off injury, but the Knicks felt that he was well enough to be close to the dominating player he was in Denver. The guy was a stallion, Amar'e before Amar'e. I remember thinking even if McDyess is 90% of what he was that he was going to be a near-franchise player for the Knicks. In the second round Layden took PG Milos Vujanic of Yugoslavia, whom he envisioned teaming with McDyess as a big part of the core of the Knicks future. Injuries derailed Vujanic's early career and he never played one minute in the NBA. Vujanic led the Euro league in scoring in 2002-03 and is still playing overseas.
With the 25th pick the team took Frank Williams, who showed signs of being a contributor but couldn't put it all together. This is why the draft is infuriating, look to see who the Knicks (and every other team) passed on after 25, and while you're at it, look at all the players drafted BEFORE 25 who are OUT OF THE LEAGUE. Matter of fact, do that for all the drafts and you'll see it's not an exact science.
Anyway, we all know how the McDyess deal worked out just a few days into his Knick career and how it compounded the team's problems.
That deal, in fairness, was one that Isiah felt he had to dig himself out of and why he jumped on a deal that brought Stephon Marbury back to the Big Apple. But it cost the team draft picks and allowed them to take on Penny Hardaway's contract further hamstringing the salary cap.
Lastly, the Eddy Curry deal (Curry and Antiono Davis for Tim Thomas, Michael Sweetney, Jermaine Jackson, a conditional first-round draft choice in the 2006 NBA Draft, two future second-round draft selections and the opportunity to exchange a future draft choice) was one that still hasn't worked out and one that has impacted the Knicks because both picks have been lottery picks resulting in Joakim Noah and Ty Thomas.
Three blockbusters and three pretty HORRIBLE OUTCOMES.
To me the Layden decision was risky because McDyess, despite the injuries, is still playing. The guy could have been special if not for a bad break. And I'll give Isiah a break because it was that deal that caused him to make a splash with Marbury, but the pick and Penny's contract were a bit much. The Curry deal hasn't worked out and I'd like to have those lottery picks back although it's not like Noah or Thomas are All-Stars but at least they are playing.
Come to think of it...McDyess AND Curry have worn #34. Can we just retire Oak's number already? Is it a sign?