Donnie Walsh's biggest project of the trade deadline appears to be accomplished. The Knicks are about to acquire Tracy McGrady and his massive $23 million expiring contract from the Houston Rockets and playmaking point guard Sergio Rodriquez (also expiring) from the Sacramento Kings.
In exchange, the Knicks will send Larry Hughes and his $13.6M expiring contract to the Kings while sending Jared Jeffries ($6.8M in 2010-11) and rookie Jordan Hill ($2.4M) to the Rockets along with agreeing to swap 2011 first round picks with Houston and giving up a 2012 first-rounder.
The 2011 swap is protected if it winds up being a No. 1 overall pick, though the Knicks certainly don't expect to be a lottery team in 2010-11 with all that cap space. The 2012 pick is protected if it is a top 5.
The Kings would send Kevin Martin to the Rockets and take Carl Landry back, along with other peripheral players thrown in to make the finances work.
The biggest part of this for the Knicks is the $9.2M in salary cap savings for the Knicks in 2010, which brings them to about $32M in cap space for this summer's free agency. That's enough for two full max contracts or one max and the ability to trade for one or two large contracts.
The downside is giving up a first round pick in 2012, two years after the franchise doesn't have one (2010), not to mention letting go of this year's lottery pick, Jordan Hill, three-quarters into his rookie season.
It's a heavy price to pay for the Knicks, but, with 29 games to go and over 7 games out of a playoff spot, they have a chance to get an up-close look at a former all-star in McGrady to see if he has anything left in the tank to consider him this summer. And Rodriguez, who has longed to play in New York and immediately improves the Knicks very weak backcourt.
The Nate Robinson to the Celtics trade is also completed. The Knicks will send Robinson to Boston along with rookie Marcus Landry (yes, the Landry brothers are traded on the same day) in exchange for Eddie House and young players Bill Walker and JR Giddens.
Al Harrington's name had come up in some rumors, mostly connected with the Bulls for Tyrus Thomas, but the Knicks wound up hanging on to the veteran forward.