For the sake of both concision and overall-narrative weight, it makes the most sense to start in 2001, two years after Dolan assumed near-total control of the Knicks.
Trade: A four-teamer involving the Knicks, Phoenix Suns, Los Angeles Lakers and Seattle Supersonics. The details are way too complicated to get into, but it involves the Knicks sending Patrick Ewing to the Sonics and a first-round pick to the Phoenix Suns while receiving three picks (they won’t be around long) and Luc Longley, who was waived the following year.
Pick turns into: Jason Collins.
Also available: Zach Randolph, Gerald Wallace, Tony Parker, Gilbert Arenas, Mehmet Okur.
Dumb quotient: 10. Fitting that our first move involves the Knicks jettisoning arguably the best player in their team’s history. They might not be kicking themselves over losing out on Jason Collins, but the other guys? Yeesh. Hindsight aside, a poor precedent has been set in motion. That, coupled with the karma, accounts for the 10.
Trade: A draft-day deal in which the Knicks sent Marcus Camby, Mark Jackson and Nenê—whom they had just selected with the seventh overall pick—to the Denver Nuggets for Frank Williams and Antonio McDyess.
Pick turns into: Well, it turned into Nenê. Last we checked, he was pretty good.
Also available: Carlos Boozer, Luis Scola, John Salmons. Oh, and Amar'e Stoudemire.
Dumb quotient: 9. One of the more legendarily bad moves of the Dolan era. It’s not clear what the Knicks thought they were getting in McDyess, who was coming off a series of devastating, career-altering knee injuries. What they weren’t getting in Nenê—and, to a different extent, Frank Williams—may have been just as crushing.
Could've had him. Don't have him.
Trade: The Marbury Mega-Deal, whereby the Knicks sent McDyess, Charlie Ward, a pair of fringe prospects—Maciej Lampe and Milos Vujanic—and two first-rounders (2004 and 2010) to the Suns for Stephon Marbury, Anfernee Hardaway and Cezary Trybanski.
Picks turn into: Kirk Snyder in 2004 (So what?) and Gordon Hayward in 2010. (Oops.) Who was selected one spot after Hayward? Just a guy named Paul George. Perhaps you've heard of him.
Also available: Larry Sanders, Eric Bledsoe, Greivis Vásquez, Lance Stephenson.
Dumb quotient: 8. Before Carmelo Anthony’s controversial homecoming, the Knicks tried to make Marbury the face of Manhattan. It failed spectacularly—not merely because of Starbury’s spotty play and strange antics, but for how the move hindered the Knicks financially. Losing out on Hayward (a very good player) and George (the second coming of Scottie Pippen, basically) certainly doesn't help.
Trade: The Knicks got Eddy Curry, Antonio Davis and a first-rounder (later turned into Wilson Chandler—not bad) in exchange for a slew of roster flotsam and four picks—two firsts and two seconds.
Picks turn into: LaMarcus Aldridge (2006), Joakim Noah (2007).
Also available: So, so many.
Dumb quotient: 37. We’ll just let you look at this chart, courtesy of our friends at BlogABull.com:
Trade: Another super-complicated one, this one involving the Knicks, Houston Rockets and Sacramento Kings, with New York’s goal being to free up cap space that would eventually be used to sign Amar’e Stoudemire. The Knicks sent a first-rounder to Houston.
Pick turns into: Royce White.
Also available: Terrence Jones, Andrew Nicholson, Jared Sullinger.
Dumb quotient: 3. In the end, the Knicks got what they wanted: a big free-agent to rebuild their roster. Needless to say, White hasn’t exactly panned out. The long-term effects of the move are debatable, but you can’t say the Knicks gave up much on the draft front.
Trade: Denver sends Melo, Chauncey Billups, Shelden Williams and Renaldo Balkman to the Knicks in exchange for Wilson Chandler (there goes that pick), Danilo Gallinari (and that one), Raymond Felton, Timofey Mozgov, one first (2014) and two seconds. The Minnesota Timberwolves were also involved in an ancillary capacity.
Pick turns into: Knowing the Knicks? Jabari Parker, Andrew Wiggins, Aaron Gordon or Joel Embiid, probably.
Dumb quotient: TBD—depends on how that first-rounder renders. While you can argue all that was a steep price to pay for Melo, it'll likely be years before we find out exactly how steep.
The Knicks traded a first-rounder for Bargnani.
Trade: In an effort to bolster their scoring, the Knicks reel in Andrea Bargnani from the Toronto Raptors. The price: Steve Novak, Marcus Camby, Quentin Richardson, a 2016 first-rounder and two seconds (2014, 2017).
Pick turns into: TBD.
Dumb quotient: TBD.