5. Kiki VanDeweghe
VanDeweghe was the first draft pick in Mavericks history, but he refused to play for the expansion franchise. The 6’8 forward was traded to the Nuggets in December of 1980 and quickly became a two-time All-Star and one of the best scorers of the decade.
The Knicks chased VanDeweghe for years, and they finally acquired him for a first-round draft pick at the trade deadline in 1989. The 30-year-old’s minutes and production were down in Portland, but the Knicks needed another scorer on their bench under Rick Pitino.
New York made the playoffs four straight years with VanDeweghe, including advancing to the second round three times, but the 6’8 forward struggled to stay healthy and was no longer the feared scorer he was in his 20s.
VanDeweghe had an outstanding 1990-91 season where he averaged 16.3 points on 49.4 percent shooting from the field in 32.3 minutes per game over 75 contests. They were swept by the Bulls in the first round of the playoffs, but the Knicks had a chance to offload VanDeweghe after a strong season.
Instead, they kept him only for his production to dip further. The Knicks waived him after the 1991-92 season, and he played just 41 more games before retiring from the NBA.