At 7’2″, 260 lb, Ante Tomić is considered to be one of the best European centers of the past decade, playing for both Real Madrid and Barcelona; the New York Knicks just acquired him in a trade. Well, sort of.
Tomić was drafted in 2008 by the Utah Jazz. If you were wondering, let me help you – that’s the Derrick Rose, Russell Westbrook, Kevin Love draft class. Since 2008, Tomić never decided to move across the Atlantic and play in the NBA. In 2015, a story came out that Tomić will not transition to the NBA because his girlfriend had just moved to Barcelona and vetoed going to the States.
Ask anyone who’s married, and they’ll confirm the saying – happy wife, happy life. But this time, it would appear that wasn’t the issue. As it so happened, Katarina Štimac is active on Twitter as well.
Whatever the reason was, it was obvious Tomić was never going to play in the NBA. As one of the best centers in Euroleague, he had a great career, and assuming he would decide to leave that in his 30s to play 5 minutes a game in the NBA would be ridiculous. Still, the CBA allows teams to pretend he is an asset, so the Jazz traded their draft right to Tomić for some extra picks from the Knicks.
Situations like these happen all the time. During the 2019 offseason, the Warriors and Timberwolves agreed to a trade that sent Treveon Graham, Shabazz Napier, and cash to Minnesota. The Wolves had to send something to the Warriors in the deals they sent Golden State the draft rights to Lior Eliyahu, the 44th pick in the 2006 NBA draft.
How far can it go? For the ’19/’20 seasons, the Atlanta Hawks held the draft rights to Augusto Binelli, whom they drafted in the second round of the 1986 NBA Draft. Binelli is retired, which shouldn’t be surprising given the fact the man is 55 years old.