With the 2013 NBA Draft this Thursday, exactly what the New York Knicks are planning this offseason should be unfolding quite soon. One such rumor that’s surfaced is the possibility of the Knicks trying to bring last year’s second round pick, Kostas Papanikolaou, back to New York. Papanikolaou (who shall henceforth be known as “Papa”) was selected by the Knicks with the 48th pick, but wasn’t supposed to leave his Greek team for another year or two. His rights were then traded to the Portland Trailblazers — in addition to other pieces — for Raymond Felton.
According to Marc Berman, the Knicks are among teams actively pursuing him from the Blaxers, who seem disinterested in his services:
The Knicks have offered future second-round picks and future considerations (cash) to Portland in an attempt to regain the rights to small forward Kostas Papanikolaou, according to sources.
The Trail Blazers have rebuffed the Knicks and were asking for their 24th pick in a swap with Portland’s 39th pick Thursday night to pony up the 6-foot-9 Greek. Knicks general manager Glen Grunwald isn’t looking to give up his first-round pick, though some draft experts consider the 24-to-39 range rather comparable in a draft weaker than last season’s.
With J.R. Smith opting out and Chris Copeland possibly being pursued by other teams, Papa would serve a need on the wing. He has a solid resume in Greece, winning his second straight championship with the Olympiakos, and hitting 52% of his attempts from downtown. Furthermore, his draft profile states he has an impact on the defensive end, good NBA size, and a natural feel for the game, rarely forcing things.
Would Papa, plus a second-round pick, be worth giving up the 24th pick, though? There are some good potential picks in the Knicks’ range, though not many players that seem like the Knicks are dying to get. The chances of the Knicks getting a player they like, and a player that can make an actual impact on the game do decrease by the Blazers 39th pick.
Although Papa would be a seemingly terrific addition to the Knicks — experts called him a steal at 48 last year — it doesn’t seem worth it to give away another first round draft pick. The Knicks have traded away virtually all remaining picks for the next three years, and with an old team and no cap space, their best way to build is through the draft. Giving away yet another pick seems like the wrong way to go.
However, thesearethe Knicks, and we know how much they like players with experience. Papanikolaou and a second-rounder isn’t the worst way to go if it means trading a late first round pick.
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