Bargnani trade a big deal financially

July, 2, 2013
7/02/13
4:47
PM ET


Glen Grunwald admitted two mistakes when he orchestrated the trade to bring Andrea Bargnani to New York.

The first was that he overpaid for Marcus Camby last summer.

Camby, 39, was plagued by injuries in 2012-13. He played in just 24 games after the Knicks acquired him in a sign-and-trade for Toney Douglas, Jerome Jordan, Josh Harrellson and two second-round picks.

[+] EnlargeAnthony/Bargnani
Jim McIsaac/Getty ImagesBy bringing Andrea Bargnani to New York, the Knicks should have more wiggle room in 2015 to model the team around Melo.
By sending Camby's remaining salary of $7.5 million over the next two years to Toronto, Grunwald cleaned up a mistake.

The Knicks GM also erred in handing Steve Novak a four-year, $15 million contract last summer. Novak wasn't the sharpshooting weapon the Knicks envisioned he'd be last season under Mike Woodson. So Grunwald dumped Novak and the remaining $11 million of his contract on the Raptors.

Bargnani is owed $23 million over the next two years, so it's not as if the Knicks freed up cap space in the transaction. But they did clean up their books for the summer of 2015.

After the 2014-15 season, Amar'e Stoudemire ($23.4 million), Carmelo Anthony ($23.5 million), Tyson Chandler ($14.6 million) and Bargnani ($12 million) all come off the books.

Anthony has an early termination option after next season, so he can become a free agent in the summer of 2014, if he chooses.

But the addition of Bargnani gives the Knicks three expiring contracts in 2014-15 that could be attractive to opposing teams with cap space.

The subtraction of Novak leaves the Knicks with just a $3.8 million qualifying offer for Iman Shumpert, Raymond Felton's $4.5 million player option and, presumably, money owed to Tim Hardaway Jr. going into the 2015-16 season. They are no longer obligated to pay Novak $3.75 million that year.

In other words, the Knicks will have plenty of cap space and money to throw at free agents in the summer of 2015, when Rajon Rondo, Goran Dragic, Eric Gordon, Danny Green, Thaddeus Young, Kevin Love, LaMarcus Aldridge, Marc Gasol, Brook Lopez and Roy Hibbert could be available after the season.

So the Knicks could remodel their roster around Anthony (presuming he stays in New York), Shumpert and Hardaway Jr. in the summer of 2015. (They should have enough cap space to add at least one max player that offseason).

The Knicks will have to be active in free agency to reshape the roster because they won't have much opportunity to make an impact in the draft. They sent their 2016 first-round pick (the Nuggets will have the opportunity to swap their pick with New York's, if they desire) and second-round picks in 2014 and 2017 to Toronto in the Bargnani deal. That leaves them with just one first-round pick (in 2015) over the next three years.

So the Knicks have taken a win-now approach for the next two seasons. That was true before the Bargnani trade; but the acquisition of Bargnani makes it easier to remodel things when their window of opportunity closes.

You can follow Ian Begley on Twitter.

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TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Carmelo Anthony
PTS AST STL MIN
19.5 4.5 0.5 31.5
OTHER LEADERS
ReboundsQ. Acy 8.0
AssistsJ. Smith 5.0
StealsS. Larkin 3.0
BlocksS. Dalembert 1.5