The most interesting story of the 2024 NBA draft isn't how Zach Edey got drafted ninth by the Memphis Grizzlies or how Bronny James got drafted by the Los Angeles Lakers. It was a trade in the second round of the draft between the Dallas Mavericks and New York Knicks that ended with the Knicks securing a San Antonio Spurs assistant coach named Petteri Koponen. Here's how everything unfolded.

The initial trade between the Mavericks and Knicks

Los Angeles Lakers guard Russell Westbrook (0) shoots as Washington Wizards guard Monte Morris (22) and forward Kyle Kuzma (33) look on during the second half at Capital One Arena.
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In the 2nd round, it's normal for teams to swap picks. Some add the 11th and 12th man on a team to clear cap while others add cash to the mix. In rare cases, teams would even add ice skating tickets and offer marketing advice to make it more interesting.

On this day, the initial deal was the Mavericks moving up seven spots in the second round (51st pick). In exchange, the Knicks got the Mavericks' 58th pick and cash considerations.

What made this trade particularly intriguing was the additional sweetener the Mavericks added to the deal: The draft rights to Petteri Koponen.

Who is Petteri Koponen?

Koponen is a Finnish basketball player who was originally drafted by the Philadelphia 76ers with the 30th pick in the 2007 NBA Draft. His rights were immediately traded to the Portland Trail Blazers for the 42nd pick and cash. Four years later, the Blazers traded his rights to the Mavericks along with Andre Miller, Rudy Fernandez, and Jordan Hamilton for Raymond Felton.

Koponen would never play in the NBA, but he did have a successful 14-year career overseas. He spent significant time playing in Italy, Spain, Russia, and last played in Finland for the Helsinki Seagulls in 2022.

What does Petteri Koponen do now?

Despite retiring in 2022, the Mavericks still held on to his draft rights. Just three days before the 2024 NBA Draft, Koponen made a significant career move and, like many former professional basketball players, decided to be a coach. He'd get an offer to join the San Antonio Spurs Summer League team as an assistant coach. He also inked a 2-year deal to be the head coach of the New Zealand Breakers in the Australian Basketball League (ABL).

Once Koponen heard about the trade between the Knicks and the Mavericks, he responded with a funny tweet on X/Twitter saying he'd only consider playing if he received an offer he couldn't refuse.

“I'm honored (Knicks) but I'm still going to honor my commitment with the Spurs. Of course, a financially ridiculous offer could change things. I got the new hip! I’m ready,” Koponen tweeted.

It’s unlikely Koponen will ever don a Knicks jersey anytime soon. But he shouldn't feel too bad. Once the Knicks finalized the trade, he became the 11th overseas stashed player the Knicks have on their roster. For context, no other team in the league has more than six as per Basketball Reference.