December 24, 2003: The New York Knicks waived Slavko Vranes
In Isiah Thomas’ first official move as Knicks GM, he waived Slavko Vranes, picked 39th in the 2003 NBA Draft. Vranes never played a game with the Knicks despite suiting up in Summer League and preseason. Right patella tendinitis sidelined Vranes since opening day. At the time, Isiah desired players who could immediately contribute to the team and not long-range projects.
Vranes – at a height of around 7’5 – would have been the tallest Knick in team history had he played a regular season game. Vranes later signed a 10-day contract with the Portland Trailblazers and played all of 3 scoreless minutes. He left the NBA in his rookie season to cultivate a career overseas in Europe and Asia. He was a member of the Montenegro National Basketball Team.
Vranes was Scott Layden’s final draft pick made. Unfortunately, there were quite a few players – Willie Green, Keith Bogans, Zaza Pachulia, Matt Bonner, Mo Williams, James Jones, Kyle Korver – who had long careers in the NBA and some of whom currently play as of today.