It is one thing to mortgage your future after the fact.
The Heat did that with the Cavaliers and Raptors in the sign-and-trades utilized to increase the payouts to LeBron James and Chris Bosh.
For most of the next decade, draft night will remain rumor in South Florida.
It is, however, another thing to mortgage a future on the whim of hope.
The Knicks did that last season with the trade-deadline deal with the Rockets that excised the salary of forward Jared Jeffries.
The payoff from that move was the ability to sign Amare Stoudemire, Raymond Felton and Timofey Mozgov in free agency, moves that likely won’t put New York anywhere close to homecourt in the first round of the playoffs, let alone legitimate contention.
Yet because of that Jeffries dump, the Knicks now find themselves on the outside looking in when it comes to the emerging Carmelo Anthony lottery.
Why? Because if the Nuggets are forced into moving Anthony, any such move would come with an eye toward the future. And that is a view the Knicks simply cannot furnish.
In a transaction that keeps on giving (indigestion), the Knicks, in order to dump Jeffries on the Rockets, also gave Houston the right to flip-flop 2011 first-round picks, provided the Knicks’ selection is not No. 1 overall.
But wait, it gets worse.
In that same deal, the Knicks also agreed to send their 2012 first-round pick to the Rockets, provided it is not among the first five.
And the misery doesn’t end there.
Because, by rule, teams cannot trade successive future first-round picks, that 2012 obligation to the Rockets means the Knicks cannot trade their 2011 first-round pick (or the one possibly to be swapped from the Rockets) or their 2013 first-round pick.
So the earliest first-round pick, at this moment, barring the unlikely eventuality of acquiring another team’s choice, the Knicks could offer Denver in a potential Carmelo package would be for 2014.
For the Knicks, this past June was supposed to be the ultimate draft nightmare, when their unprotected first-round lottery pick had to be conveyed to Utah, with the Jazz selecting Gordon Hayward ninth overall.
Instead, the draft misery continues.
As does the inability to meet a prime Nuggets’ need in any Anthony deal.
Ira Winderman writes regularly for NBCSports.com and covers the Heat and the NBA for the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. You can follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/IraHeatBeat.