Report: Phil Jackson refused to trade Knicks’ 2018 first-round pick before deadline

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The Knicks do not have their first-round pick in this June’s NBA Draft — a product of 2013’s disastrous trade for Andrea Bargnani, who was bought out by the Nets on Saturday afternoon. It would appear that Knicks president Phil Jackson has learned from the mistakes of the previous regime when it comes to dealing future assets for players who don’t move the needle.

The Knicks did not make any moves before Thursday’s deadline despite kicking the tires on discussions for the likes of Jeff Teague and Ricky Rubio. The sticking point, according to ESPN.com’s Ian Begley, was the Knicks’ next tradable first-rounder, in 2018:

Jackson’s firm rule at the trade deadline, per league sources, was that the Knicks hold on to their 2018 first-round pick.

It’s unclear how frequently the Knicks were asked for the pick in the days leading up to the trade deadline, but what is clear is that it was off limits, according to league sources familiar with the club’s thinking.

“Phil said that they weren’t dealing it,” was how one source put it.

If you’re a Knicks fan, you have to be encouraged by that stance, given the Knicks’ recklessness with dealing away future picks in previous years. Jackson recognizes how much that approach has hamstrung his team in the past, and he’s determined not to make that mistake again for a player that doesn’t vault them into championship contention.