One of the ongoing jokes of the 2013-14 NBA season was how the New York Knicks—by virtue of some of the most boneheaded late-game decisions in the history of sports—had authored an absolute masterpiece of lottery-pick tanking.
All the while having no idea that they didn’t, in fact, have a draft pick.
That’s what made it funny, you see.
Of course, The Knicks weren't actually tanking. They knew they'd long ago jettisoned their 2014 pick in the 2011 deal to bring Carmelo Anthony to the Big Apple.
They were just really, really bad.
But that’s not stopping owner James Dolan from trying to dig deep into his Cablevision coffers in an attempt to reel in a second-rounder. Per the New York Post's Marc Berman:
The Chicago pre-draft combine begins Thursday, but head coaches don’t always attend. The Knicks don’t have a first- or second-round pick, but will look to buy one at the end of the draft. Phil Jackson is expected to go to Chicago.
Purchasing second-rounders is actually a pretty common practice. In fact, the Knicks tried to do it last year, to no avail (per Berman).
New York was, however, able to procure a pick from the New Orleans Hornets in the 2011 draft. The result: the selection of Josh Harrellson, nicknamed “Jorts” for his propensity for wearing jean shorts, a fad popular with the neolithic peoples of modern-day Denmark and brought screaming into the 21st century by the one-time University of Kentucky forward.
"Jorts" became something of a cult hero in New York. Less for his actual on-court play (which was solid, if unspectacular) than for this, which will never, ever get old.
This year’s draft, by comparison, offers the potential of a much deeper bounty.
For a team like the Knicks—over the salary cap and with little recourse for roster improvement—that kind of cheap asset can prove quite crucial.
As will the forthcoming free agency of Anthony, who is expected to officially opt out of the final year of his contract.
Phil Jackson, a friend and former coach of Kerr’s and New York’s newly minted president of basketball operations, has stated wanting to reach a new deal with the star small forward.
But, as Jackson recently told Peter Botte of the New York Daily News, his attention is much more focused on the big picture—a 30,000 foot view, we can only assume, that will include small-change maneuvers like bolstering New York’s currently barren stock of draft picks.
“I’m all about moving forward,” Jackson said. “Just deal with what is and move forward. If it’s in the cards, man, are we fortunate. If it’s not in the cards, man, are we fortunate. We’re going forward anyway.”
If you clicked through that first link, you probably caught wind of the bigger story: That the Knicks and Steve Kerr have yet to finalize an offer to bring the longtime TNT analyst and former general manager of the Phoenix Suns on board as New York’s newest head coach—although a deal is still being seen as imminent.
Knicks have been slow to overpay Steve Kerr in deal length or salary, sources say. Tried treating him closer to 1st-time coach than a star.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) May 12, 2014
Once aboard the 'Bocker train, Kerr will most certainly have a say in how the Knicks parlay any theoretical second-round pick.
That's assuming they can even find a taker.
In such a loaded draft, it seems unlikely any team would want to bow out of a chance at a late-round steal. Chalk this up, then, to New York's effort to show fans they're actually trying to do something to bolster its team's almost non-existent youth factor.
Should they somehow land one, though, let’s just say it shouldn’t be that difficult top their past performances in that department.