September 20th 2000: The New York Knicks trade Patrick Ewing
In what seemed like a long time coming, the New York Knicks finalized a four-team trade that dealt their franchise player Patrick Ewing to the Seattle Supersonics. The full trade details are shown below:
The New York Knicks trade:
Patrick Ewing, Chris Dudley, 2001 1st Round Pick
The New York Knicks acquire:
Lazaro Borrell, Travis Knight, Luc Longley, Vernon Maxwell, Glen Rice, Vladimir Stepania, 2001 1st Round Pick via the Los Angeles Lakers, two 2001 2nd Round Picks via the Seattle Supersonics, 2002 1st Round Pick via the Supersonics
The Phoenix Suns trade:
The Phoenix Suns acquire:
Chris Dudley, 2001 1st Round Pick via the New York Knicks
The Los Angeles Lakers trade:
Travis Knight, Glen Rice, 2001 1st Round Pick
The Los Angeles Lakers acquire:
Emanuel Davis, Greg Foster, Horace Grant, Chuck Person
The Seattle Supersonics trade:
Lazaro Borrell, Emanuel Davis, Greg Foster, Horace Grant, Vernon Maxwell, Chuck Person, Vladimir Stepania, two 2001 2nd Round Picks, 2002 1st Round Pick
The Seattle Supersonics acquire:
The Ewing trade was in the works for most of the offseason. Ewing requested a trade after not receiving a two-year extension he requested early in the offseason. He was also uncomfortable being a supporting player at the age of 38 and felt the toll of acrimonious relationships between the team, fans, and media after not being able to lead the Knicks to an NBA championship. The divorce seemed inevitable after the 1999-00 season ended. The team almost felt hampered by Ewing’s presence on the floor both offensively and defensively. The team played much faster, and even better, without him on the floor.
For most of August that year, the Knicks worked the phone lines to formulate a trade. The original trade that almost went through involved the Detroit Pistons and would have resulted in the Knicks acquiring both Glen Rice & Vin Baker. However, the Pistons got cold feet and the Knicks tried to find another team to finish the deal. That team eventually became the Phoenix Suns.
As we all know now, the Ewing trade didn’t help any of the parties involved. Ewing never received his contract extension or played any meaningful playoff minutes in his final two seasons with the Sonics & Magic.
The Knicks perhaps wished they acquired Baker. Glen Rice never seemed to fit in New York and was dealt in the subsequent offseason. Luc Longley only played 25 games in New York before retiring due to a degenerative condition in his left ankle. Of the remaining potpourri of players acquired in the trade, only Travis Knight remained on the team past the 2000-01 season. He played minimal minutes in New York through the 2002-03 season before retiring from the NBA. The remaining players were waived shortly before the beginning of the 2000-01 season.
To add insult to injury, the Knicks did not capitalize on any of the draft picks acquired. The Knicks dealt both of their 1st round picks in separate deals to acquire Othella Harrington & Mark Jackson. Additionally, none of the 2nd round picks played in the NBA.
In hindsight, Ewing admitted he should not have requested a trade. He was better off finishing his career in NY after the 2000-01 season. Instead of acquiring albatross contracts, the Knicks could have let Ewing’s $18 million salary expire and acquire more premier free agents in the 2001 off-season. Perhaps the team would not have fallen in a cycle of failure and mediocrity
September 17th 1983: The New York Knicks re-acquire Ray Williams
The New York Knicks re-acquired their former 1st round pick Ray Williams via two separate trades. The Knicks first traded backup shooting guard Vince Taylor and a 1984 1st round pick to the Indiana Pacers for future Hawks GM Billy Knight. The Knicks subsequently traded Knight to the Kansas City Kings for Williams.
Unlike his first go-around with the Knicks, Williams played more of the shooting guard role alongside Rory Sparrow. The backcourt, alongside Bernard King, helped lead the Knicks to the playoffs. He only spent one season with the Knicks in his second go-around before joining the Boston Celtics for an NBA Finals run in 1985 and then a few more pit-stops with the Atlanta Hawks, San Antonio Spurs, and New Jersey Nets. He retired from the NBA in 1987.
Ray Williams was one of the more unheralded guards during the post-Clyde Frazier era. He was drafted 10th overall in 1977 as the replacement for Clyde. As a native of Mount Vernon, it was a great opportunity to shine at home. He showed a penchant for scoring nearly 20 points a game and averaged nearly 6 assists a game and more than 2 steals a game as the starting point guard. He split guard duties with Micheal “Sugar Ray” Richardson to temporarily become of the more potent backcourt duos in the NBA. Williams even became captain of the team in 1980.
Williams suffered many hardships, including homelessness and bankruptcy, after his NBA career ended. His life came full circle in 2010 when then-Mount Vernon Mayor Clinton Young Jr. connected with Williams to hire him as the city’s Recreation Specialist. His task was to rejuvenate the recreational activities provided to inspire the youth.
Though he passed away in 2013 due to colon cancer, his legacy still lives on in Knick history and in Mount Vernon.
September 15th 2017: The New York Knicks sign Jarrett Jack
Days before the beginning of training camp, the Knicks signed Jarrett Jack as insurance at the point guard position. Along with Ramon Sessions, Jack was initially meant to mentor Knick rookie Frank Ntilikina.
While Jack served a great role as mentor, no one expected Jack to start 56 games. Ramon Sessions was the opening day starter, but was benched after only 3 games due to ineffectiveness. Jack became the starting point guard while Ntilikina cemented himself as his backup. The Knicks sat at a near .500 record with Jack as the starter through Christmas day.
The Knicks collapsed after Christmas due to Kristaps Porzingis’ annual post-Santa struggles1hint hint Dallas, spinach does the trick and his season-ending ACL tear. After the All-Star break, the Knicks sat Jack to let Ntilikina and some of the new point guards develop and play.
September 13th 1992: The New York Knicks acquire Tony Campbell
Fresh off Xavier McDaniel joining the Boston Celtics, The New York Knicks proceeded to fill the gaping hole at the small forward position when they acquired Tony Campbell from the Minnesota Timberwolves for a future 2nd round pick. Campbell previously played for coach Pat Riley during his time with the Los Angeles Lakers between 1987-89. Additionally, Campbell was also a native of New Jersey and got his wish to come play at home.
During his previous 3 seasons with the expansion Minnesota Timberwolves, Campbell showed an ability to get buckets and play both the shooting guard and small forward positions. Only 30 years old, Campbell was also another player in his prime who could have impact minutes with the team.
However, the Knicks made a subsequent move before training camp to acquire Charles Smith from the Los Angeles Clippers. The acquisition eventually forced Campbell out of the rotation early in the season. His minutes were cut from starter minutes to less than 20 minutes/game off the bench. He only played 2 playoff games with the Knicks during the 1993 playoff run.
The Knicks eventually traded Campbell to the Dallas Mavericks in the subsequent season for Derek Harper to shore up their point guard depth after Doc Rivers’ season-ending injury.
September 10th 1982: The New York Knicks sign Ernie Grunfeld
The New York Knicks signed Ernie Grunfeld to a contract on this date. Grunfeld reunited with his former college teammate Bernard King.2both players played together at the University of Tennessee Grunfeld backed up King at the small forward for most of his tenure with the Knicks. Grunfeld spent his final season in the NBA alongside then-rookie Patrick Ewing.
After his NBA career ended, Grunfeld remained within the Knicks organization in various capacities. He first became the Knicks radio analyst for the MSG network between 1986-89. He then transitioned into an assistant coach on Stu Jackson’s bench (alongside future head coach Jeff Van Gundy) before moving up to the front office in the 1990-91 season.
He remained in the front office after the Knicks hired Dave Checketts in 1991. He eventually became the Knicks GM in 1993. During his tenure within the front office, the Knicks were perennial playoff contenders, including two NBA Finals runs in both 1994 and 1999.
However, the Grunfeld’s tenure with the Knicks took a turn for the worse with the 1998-99 lockout season. His long-simmering feud with Jeff Van Gundy came to a boil throughout the season. Van Gundy wasn’t happy with the departure of team veterans Charles Oakley & John Starks. Grunfeld acquired Marcus Camby & Latrell Sprewell before the season in the aftermath of the 1998 NBA Playoffs. Both the Indiana Pacers & Miami Heat showed Grunfeld that the Knicks needed to get more athletic at all positions in order to help Ewing get one more Finals run. Clearly, Van Gundy thought otherwise.
As expected, the 1998-99 lockout season got off on a rough note. Grunfeld & Van Gundy publicly disagreed on playing time with regards to Camby & Sprewell. Their feud became public as the team struggled to win games. Their disputes funneled into the press as each faction (Grunfeld, Van Gundy) used the various beat reporters (NY Times, NY Post, NY Daily News) to air their frustrations with each other.2This is why the media policy is what it is
The disagreements angered and frustrated the new Knicks ownership. Then-vice chairman James Dolan & the late Marc Lustgarten gave Checketts an ultimatum to fire one of Grunfeld or Van Gundy. Checketts kept Van Gundy and Grunfeld’s time as a Knick executive ended.
Grunfeld immediately became the new Milwaukee Bucks GM for the 1999-2000 season. The Bucks made the playoffs for 3 of the 4 seasons under Grunfeld’s watch. They went to the Eastern Conference Finals in 2001, losing to the Philadelphia 76ers. Unfortunately, Grunfeld couldn’t propel the Bucks into a Finals contender and thus was let go after the 2002-03 season.
Grunfeld became the GM of the Washington Wizards beginning in 2003. He remained with the team until 2019. His tenure as Wizards GM was highly controversial. Despite various splashes over the years (Gilbert Arenas, Antawn Jamison, Caron Butler, John Wall, Bradley Beal, etc.), the team was largely mediocre during the Grunfeld era. His teams never propelled past the 2nd round of the NBA playoffs during his first 5 years as GM. Afterwards, there was a long spell of rebuilding between the end of the Gilbert Arenas era that ushered in a new core of John Wall, Bradley Beal, & Otto Porter.
Unfortunately, poor draft picks (Jan Vesely), general negligence of draft picks, and bad contracts (Ian Mahinmi, Andrew Nicholson) ruined the future of the new core. Grunfeld could never build a team around Wall & Beal that would help them reach the Eastern Conference Finals. The beginning of the end was the supermax given to John Wall. After John Wall’s devastating injury during the 2018-19 season, the Wizards went on a rebuilding mode. Out went Otto Porter and ultimately the Wizards finally fired Grunfeld after the season ended. For many Wizards fans, it was a long time coming.
August 29th 2008: The Frederic Weis era officially ends
Frederic Weis officially ended his Knicks career, or lack there-of, on this date when GM Donnie Walsh traded his draft rights to the Houston Rockets for Patrick Ewing Jr.
Weis only suited up for a few summer league games after he was drafted 15th overall in the 1999 NBA Draft. He was chosen above NY’s own Ron Artest (now Metta World Peace) and several other players who made more immediate impacts in the league. Artest infamously got drunk the night before his scheduled workout with the Knicks, which is why the team did not draft him. However, the Knicks saw Weis as a potential frontcourt piece.
Unfortunately, while then-interim GM Ed Tapscott drafted Weis, he didn’t seek the input of his coach, Jeff Van Gundy. Van Gundy had no interest in ever developing Weis. Weis felt intimidated by the NBA the moment he stepped foot in Summer League. He never stepped foot on an American basketball court.
Of course, we can’t forget the moment when Vince Carter dunked over him in the 2000 Olympics. The culmination of all these factors led to a downward spiral in Weis’ personal life.
This trade ended up being more of a symbol than anything. In Ewing Jr., the Knicks brought back the Big Fella’s son for a handful of preseason games. Due to roster constraints, the Knicks cut him before the 2008-09 season. He jumped around between the then-Knicks G-League affiliate (Reno Bighorns) and several other teams in the G-League before embarking on a short career overseas.
I recently reached out to Coach Fizdale requesting a one-on-one interview about the upcoming season – his goals, his rotation, coaching adjustments he planned to make – and he said, “I’ll do you one better! How ’bout you hook my brain up to a psychological supercomputer and read my thoughts while I work!” I thought it was an odd request but, of course, agreed.
What follows is a live transcript – August 19th, 2019 – as he works on his rotation:
Alright, baby! This is the year! I got the green light from Pat for true positionlessness, so here we go: ‘Bron at the one, D at the…
[Realizes where he is, sobs for approximately 46 minutes]3One for every year since the Knicks’ last title
Get it together, Fiz. I mean, bright side – at least you’re not in Memphis. Right? You good? Good. Back to Fizness. New York Knickerbockers. Go New York Go New York Go. We on our way up, and Step One is beating last year’s win total. Shouldn’t be hard with the talent we added. Just gotta find the right combinations. Let’s go. Starting five…
Payton / Barrett / Knox / Randle / Robinson
Duh. Now, rest of the ten-man…wait a second. Uhh, Allan Houston, we have a problem. We’re trying to win games, and I’m pretty sure to do that someone’s gonna have to stick a jump shot. I mean, Julius is the best three-point shooter in this lineup! 2At least by 2018-19 3P% Nah. Can’t do it. Yeah, Knox looked good in Vegas, but lots of stuff looks good in Vegas; then you sober up and you’re…never mind. Point is, until he does it in a real game, it ain’t real…
And who’s playing defense in front of Mitch here? Payton’s alright, and Julius’s 8-pack might scare some people, but no. No good. Ball-handling and play-making, sure, but no shooting and very little D. Can’t win that way.
Payton / Trier / Barrett / Randle / Robinson
Shooting’s up at least. I love Zo. Love him. His near-40% from deep should help us do some things. Four guys who can get into the paint, two-and-a-half that’ll create for others, the best rim-runner in basketball…but…ahhhhhh.
I love Zo but I don’t love him and RJ together, at least not to start. Both need the ball, and so does Elf since he can’t spot up, and Julius is going at his man off the bounce…
Payton / Dotson / Barrett / Randle / Robinson
Dot’s good without it, and he’s probably our best perimeter defender, except wasn’t their some French dude? Is he still on the team? Anyway, this is more balanced. Let’s settle here for now. So who does that…well, might be easier to do it this way: who’s out of the rotation altogether?
Reggie B – street clothes for a while.
Big Taj – I like him, and I’m gonna play him, but spot minutes.
IGGY – I LOVE this kid. And how’s that saying go? Love means never having to spell his last name properly? But where are the minutes coming from? We’ll bring him along slow. Wait for injuries. Turn him loose in 2020.
Wayne – The guard version of Taj – just lead and stay ready and I’ll get him PT when I can.
Knick-a-leena? – That’s his name! Frank whatever. Great defender, unselfish, leadership qualities…but he drives blindly into four defenders so…
That leaves these reserves:
Smith / Trier / Knox / Morris / Portis
Okay, shooters in the frontcourt – think of the space that’ll create for DSJ and Zo! And if Kev’s shot is fallin’, that’s four good shooters! And you seen those videos of Denny working on his mechanics? This ain’t bad. Defense still an issue, though. Lots of pressure on Twin to lead this unit, but that’s what the 15 mil is for…
Who passes in this lineup? I’m not even talking, like, a good passer – who’s a willing passer? I mean, yeah, I love reckless aggression as much as the next guy, but you need at least one…
If he’s finally put the J back in DSJ, then this works. Slight step back on defense, maybe, but Junior did average almost a steal-and-a-half with us last year. What he lacks in actually stopping guys he makes up for in pressure and steals, right? Right?
And that second unit now – a pure facilitator surrounded by shooters! Done. Let’s not overthink it. Let’s not worry about what the media will say about Kev bumped from the starters, or the fact we got $38 million in free agency money coming off the bench…
…this is the most balanced these lineups are gonna get: facilitators and scorers, shooters and drivers, defense and, well, no defense…maybe it changes after watching these guys work out and scrimmage, maybe it changes in training camp, maybe injuries force me to change things, but for now, this is what we’re going with! Boom!
Now the fun sh**: specialty lineups!
BIG AS BIG GETS Barrett / Knox / Morris / Randle / Robinson
Part of me wanted to play Randle at the two or three to make room for Portis, but that’d be ridiculous. Or would it? #positionless
BIG BUT MORE TRADITIONAL Barrett / Dotson / Knox / Randle / Robinson
BIG WITH MORE SHOOTING Barrett / Dotson / Morris / Portis / Robinson
I can’t wait to turn RJ loose at the one. It’ll be Harden-esque. This writer sitting next to me would call my Harden-RJ comparison insanely premature and unreasonable…just don’t get so excited that you say it out loud, Fiz!
SMALL Payton / Trier / Barrett / Knox / Randle
I really wanna see the Knox-Randle frontcourt. I know, revolving door on D, but that offense? Watch out, now. Five athletes, five ball-handlers…I can run my offense through my center!
Maybe I should put in an offense…
ALL SHOOTING, ALL THE TIME Trier / Ellington / Dotson / Morris / Portis
Or as I like to think of them:
39.4% / 40.3% / 36.8% / 37.5% / 39.3%
In an ideal world, Knox will shoot his way into this, and then, my boy: IGGGGGYYYYYYY!!!! Man, I can’t wait for trade season to make room for Ignatius. Ignacio. Ig – whatever. Bro-zeikis. Love that kid.
NO PASSING…AS IN, WILL TRY TO INBOUND TO HIMSELF AFTER MADE BASKETS TO GO COAST TO COAST
Trier / Barrett / Knox / Morris / Portis
Hell yeah, this is what I’m talking about. Keep-what-you-kill thoroughbreds, forget about the white noise and go get me buckets. RJ’s got the potential to grow out of this lineup, but my four guys with NBA experience? Averaged a COMBINED 5.9 assists per last year. That stat can’t be right, can…yep. Yep, it’s right. Four men. 5.9 assists. WOW.
We got a 24-year-old and a 25-year-old in our “Experience” lineup, and media will still find ways to kill us for late-game meltdowns. This city is a beast, man.
Bullock, if healthy, would be in here somewhere, since he’s going into Year Six, but I don’t see him suiting up at all this season if I’m being honest with myself. At least not for us. Weird deal, the way that all went down.
Gimme a second, just trying…okay, sorry…almost threw up. Too much unselfishness. Can’t stomach it.
Actually, now that my nausea’s subsiding, I kinda like this lineup. Enough defense to hide Julius, I can run the offense through him and Payton, got Dot working off the ball for open jumpers, Prince coming off a World Cup run and some summer Instagram workouts…you know what? These Frankie lineups are interesting. Maybe I’ve had him all wrong. Maybe he belongs in the rotation. Maybe I need to rethink my starting lineup…
August 15th 2005: The New York Knicks use their Amnesty Provision on Jerome Williams
As part of the 2005 NBA Collective Bargaining Agreement, the NBA agreed to include an Amnesty Provision to rid teams of one of their biggest contract regrets. This rule was colloquially known as the Allan Houston Rule due to the $100 million contract the Knicks offered him. Knee injuries forced Houston to miss 94 games over the previous 2 seasons. Houston also had 2 years and $40 million remaining on his contract.
However, in somewhat typical Knicks fashion, the Knicks decided not to amnesty Houston. Instead, the Knicks amnestied Jerome “Junkyard Dog” Williams. Williams had 3 more years remaining on a 7 year $40 million deal he signed with the Toronto Raptors back in 2001. The amnesty allowed the team to save $21 million in future luxury tax payments. Williams never played another game in the NBA.
The biggest surprise was not amnestying Houston. To make things even more baffling, Houston announced his retirement shortly before the beginning of the 2005-06 season. Saving $20 million would have got the Knicks closer out of the salary cap hell that plagued the team for most of the 2000s.
August 8th 2017: The New York Knicks sign Michael Beasley & Ramon Sessions
Two of the first few acquisitions under the Scott Perry Era were Michael Beasley & Ramon Sessions. The Knicks signed both players to one year contracts. Beasley spent the previous season with the Milwaukee Bucks. He played serviceable minutes off the bench backing up Giannis Antetokounmpo and proved to be a consistent 6th man with his offensive prowess. Sessions played 50 games with the Charlotte Hornets in the previous season before missing most of the 2nd of the year recovering from a lateral meniscus tear in his knee.
For Beasley, the Knicks envisioned his role as a backup to either Kristaps Porzingis or Carmelo Anthony. After the Melo trade, Beasley easily became the team’s most consistent 6th man off the bench. Colloquially known as the “Walking Bucket,” Beasley shot over 50% from the field off the bench. After Kristaps Porzingis suffered a Torn ACL, Beasley took over as the team’s starting power forward. While not as efficient starting, Beasley continued to play effectively.
The Knicks envisioned Ramon Sessions to be the veteran point guard presence for Frank Ntilikina. Additionally, the Knicks signed Jarrett Jack shortly before training camp to reinforce that role. Sessions originally was the team’s starting point guard. However, he was ineffective at that role and quickly fell out of the rotation as Jack became the team’s starting point guard and Ntilikina became his backup. The Knicks waived Sessions to allow the team to promote Trey Burke to the NBA squad.
Beasley spent last year with the Los Angeles Lakers before being traded crosstown to the rival Los Angeles Clippers. The team waived him shortly after the trade. After the Knicks waived Sessions, he signed with the Washington Wizards. He spent a few months last year with Maccabi Tel Aviv, but left the team due to personal reasons.
August 7th 2006: The New York Knicks sign Jared Jeffries
The Knicks signed Jared Jeffries to the mid-level exception of 5 years and $30 million. While Isiah Thomas clearly overpaid for Jeffries, he attempted to bring in a defensive and versatile presence to a roster that not only didn’t defend and was often one dimensional on both ends of the floor.
Jeffries’ impact was often beyond the stat sheet. This included properly setting screens, switching on defense, and taking charges. However, that impact was not characterized in stats and thus many often ignored it and focused on his lack of scoring and rebounding for a big man. Losing the number of games the Knicks did certainly didn’t help. He was often the joke amongst Knicks fans for his hilarious attempts at scoring the ball on offense.
A left wrist fracture delayed Jeffries’ start to his Knicks tenure. However, he made an impact early on after his return, most notably during the Nuggets/Knicks brawl where he choked future teammate Carmelo Anthony and almost went to punch him after Melo sucker punched Collins. For that effort, the NBA suspended Jeffries 4 games.
Coach Mike D’Antoni attempted to maximize Jeffries’ versatility in his high paced system. He was often utilized in a positionless scheme the same way D’Antoni took advantage of players such as Boris Diaw. He guarded anyone from big men to point guards and was the ultimate hustle player. Unfortunately, the Knicks quest for stardom during the 2010 NBA Free Agency meant sacrificing Jeffries during the 2010 trade deadline.
However, the Knicks didn’t forget about Jeffries’ impact on the team. After the Carmelo Anthony trade, Jeffries returned to the Knicks as a free agent on a minimum contract. Without the burden of his big contract, Jeffries continued to do what he did best: hustle, work hard, and do the dirty work. He experienced the playoffs with the Knicks that season.
Jeffries spent one more year with the Knicks and retired after the 2012-13 season.
August 6th 2013: The New York Knicks sign Jeremy Tyler
After a nice summer league performance, the New York Knicks signed Jeremy Tyler to a training camp contract. However, Tyler underwent foot surgery a month later that would sideline him for 8-10 weeks. For some strange reason, the Knicks cut Tyler before the regular season started to keep Chris Smith, JR Smith’s brother, on the roster.
Fortunately, saner minds prevailed as the Knicks cut Smith and re-signed Tyler after the latter rehabilitated from his injury. Tyler played 41 games with the Knicks and hand some decent highlights with the team. Tyler played in Summer League in 2014, but was traded to the Sacramento Kings in a cap-clearing deal. Since the deal, Tyler spent his career on various teams overseas.
August 5th 2004: The New York Knicks acquire Jamal Crawford
The New York Knicks acquired Jamal Crawford in a sign-and-trade with the Chicago Bulls. The Knicks acquired 24 year old Crawford and Jerome “Junkyard Dog” Williams from the Bulls for Dikembe Mutombo, Othella Harrington, Frank Williams, and Cezary Trybanksi. Crawford signed a 7 year $56 million deal.
Crawford quickly inserted himself as the starting shooting guard alongside Stephon Marbury. While not the most efficient scorer, Crawford was a walking bucket with a penchant to hit 3s at a very high rate and a decent passing ability for a combo guard. Under Larry Brown, Crawford reverted into a 6th man role. While not fully comfortable in the role, Crawford foreshadowed his future in the league.
Despite the turmoil within the Knicks, Crawford had several highlight moments with the team including some game-winning baskets, a highlight self-pass and dunk, and a career high 52 points against the Miami Heat.
To clear up cap space for 2010, the Knicks traded Crawford to the Golden State Warriors for Al Harrington. Crawford cemented his role as a proficient 6th man and won the award 3 times. Over his entire NBA career, Crawford has built a reputation of being a great teammate and consummate professional.
Mardy Collins was born on this date. The New York Knicks used the 29th overall pick (acquired in the Malik Rose trade) in the 2006 NBA Draft to draft Collins. Outside of some moments in the end of the year, Collins is best known for his role in the infamous Knicks/Nuggets brawl. Collins was suspended 6 games for his role in the brawl.
The Knicks traded Collins in the 2008-09 season to the Los Angeles Clippers in a cap-saving deal that netted Tim Thomas and Cuttino Mobley. Collins spent most of the 2010s overseas. He most notably spent a season with SIG Strasbourg and was teammates with current Knick Frank Ntilikina.
The National Basketball League (NBL) merged with the Basketball Association of America (BAA) to form what is now the National Basketball Association (NBA). The NBL originally formed in 1937 and consisted of nearly 38 teams. The BAA consisted of 16 teams and formed in 1946.
Since the formation of the BAA, there was competition amongst leagues for both teams and players. One of the more notable players included George Mikan, who ended up playing in both leagues at different times. Unlike the NBL, the BAA was unique in that it presented an opportunity to play in larger arenas, including both the Boston Garden & Madison Square Garden. Coincidentally, the initial BAA franchises included the current day Boston Celtics & New York Knicks.
Due to cannibalized competition, both leagues met in New York City to finalize a merger. Many of the teams in the NBL folded or merged with existing teams in the BAA or NBL. Interestingly, 5 of the current teams in the NBA can directly trace their roots back to the NBL. For example, the Minneapolis Lakers migrated to the NBA from the NBL. The Lakers eventually moved to Los Angeles in 1958 and are well known as the Los Angeles Lakers. The Rochester Royals of the NBL are now known as the Sacramento Kings.
August 2nd 2005: The New York Knicks sign Jerome James
In one of the most questionable moves of Isiah Thomas’ Knicks tenure, the New York Knicks signed Jerome James to a 5 year contract worth nearly $30 million. Isiah felt the need to offer James a contract after a solid performance in the 2005 NBA Playoffs with the Seattle Supersonics.
James was slated to split center minutes with rookie Channing Frye. However, Isiah doubled down on centers by acquiring Eddy Curry in a sign and trade that nearly crippled the franchise during the mid 2000s.
James appeared in his first Knicks training camp out of shape. Coach Larry Brown admonished him to get into playing shape and suspended him at a point for not being ready to play. Throughout the duration of his Knicks tenure, he seemed to make a lot more money than minutes played.
James played a combined 86 games during his first 2 seasons, but totaled only 679 minutes in 19 starts. He nearly made more than $17,000 per minute played during that stretch. The final 2 years were laughable as James played only 4 more games and 15 minutes in total with the Knicks while earning another $12 million in the process.
GM Donnie Walsh attempted to negotiate a buyout with James, but couldn’t come to terms to a settlement. Instead, the Knicks traded James’ contract to the Bulls to acquire Larry Hughes. James never played a game in the NBA after the trade.
Isiah Thomas later admitted in 2011 that signing James was a mistake. However, he did originally think of him as an up-and-coming center. That thought alone is inexcusable.
August 1st 2016: The New York Knicks sign Ron Baker
The New York Knicks officially inked Ron “Ron Burgundy” Baker to a contract. Without a draft pick in the 2016 NBA Draft, Phil Jackson immediately invited Burgundy to the Summer League squad. The Knicks subsequently signed Baker to a non-guaranteed contract.
The Wichita State alum, and former teammate of Cleanthony Early, came into the league with a reputation as a tough defensive guard who could also hit the open 3. Burgundy was a combo guard who had PG skills. Despite being only 6’3, his 6’8 wingspan allowed him to defend taller guards and small forwards.
Baker made the Knicks opening night roster. He split his time between the Knicks roster and the G-League team. He played 52 NBA games in his rookie campaign and started 13 of those games after the Knicks waived Brandon Jennings & Derrick Rose suffered a season ending knee injury.
His rookie season led Steve Mills to give Baker a 2 year contract worth $8.9 million. Due to Mills’ other more infamous move that offseason3he who shall not be named Timmy, this contract went under the rug. This was one of the more questionable signings, but somewhat justifiable due to his defensive efforts.
Unfortunately, Baker’s 2017-18 was marred by multiple injuries. An ankle sprain kept him out of the beginning of the season. Additionally, Baker suffered a shoulder injury rehabilitating from his ankle sprain that would foreshadow his downfall later in the year. To add insult to injury, Burgundy was the victim of a nasty Anthony Davis poster that resulted in a fractured orbital bone. The final nail to the season was when he tore his right labrum diving for a loose ball against the Nets in January 2018. He missed the remainder of the season.
Due to the plethora of Knick guards on the roster, Baker received minimal playing time to start the 2018-19 season. The Knicks later waived him to create room to sign Allonzo Trier to an NBA contract. Baker later signed with the Wizards, but eventually underwent surgery again on his torn right labrum.
Burgundy recently signed with CSKA Moscow to regain footing in his young basketball career.
July 31st: Happy Birthday to our fellow former Knicks
Henry Akin was born on July 31st 1944. He played one season with the New York Knicks and averaged 3.8 points/game in 50 games. He subsequently was an inaugural member of the Seattle Supersonics franchise in the 1967-68 season. His most memorable moment as a Knick was making his first two buckets over Wilt Chamberlain in his first ever NBA game.
Kostas Papanikolaou was born on July 31st 1990. He was drafted in the 2nd round by the Knicks in the 2012 NBA Draft. However, his draft rights went to the Portland Trailblazers in a trade that netted Raymond Felton. He spent parts of 2 seasons with the Houston Rockets and Denver Nuggets.
Scott Brooks was born on July 31st 1965. After winning 2 championships with the Houston Rockets, Brooks joined the Knicks for the 1996-97 season. He spent most of the time on the bench and almost got cut when Walt “Clyde” Frazier considered a return to the franchise.2Kidding, April Fools!
July 30th 1991: The New York Knicks sign Anthony Mason
In a somewhat unheralded move at the time, the New York Knicks officially signed Anthony Mason to an NBA contract. Mason, later known simply as the original “Mase,” spent the summer of 1991 on the Knicks summer league roster. A native of Queens, Mase spent his first few post-collegiate years overseas in Turkey and Venezuela. In between those stints, he spent parts of 2 seasons with the Denver Nuggets, New Jersey Nets, and the Tulsa Fast Breakers of the Continental Basketball Association.
Before joining the Knicks, Mase was heralded for his talents in the frontcourt combined with a deft passing ability unseen in many big men. New Knicks coach Pat Riley inserted Mase into the 2nd unit where he helped cement the Knicks already strong frontcourt presence. His combination of toughness on both ends of the floor helped the Knicks reach the playoffs, including a finals run in 1994.
After Riley left, coach Don Nelson inserted Mase into the starting lineup. As a starter, Mase averaged career highs in all categories, with 14.6 points/game, 9.3 rebounds/game, and 4.4 assists/game. The latter showcased Mase’s skills as a point forward. It was a role that eventually became a part of the positionless basketball, highlighted by Draymond Green amongst others. Unfortunately, differences in coaching philosophies cut Nelson’s tenure short after less than 1 season with the Knicks.
After the 1996 season, a combination of off-court issues and a quest for more offensive firepower led the Knicks to trade Mase to the Charlotte Hornets for Larry Johnson. Mase harbored tensions towards the Knicks organization due to the trade. Mase displayed his point forward skills during his tenure with the Hornets and also earned an All-Star berth in 2001 with the Miami Heat after reuniting with Riley.
Mase eventually reconciled with the Knicks and was often seen courtside at games or chatting with several of the Knicks players during the years. Sadly, Mase passed away in 2015 due to congestive heart failure at the age of 48.
Sidney “Sonny” Hertzberg was born on this date in 1922. A Brookyln native, Hertzberg played college basketball with future Knick coach Red Holzman at the City College of New York. Sonny was part of the inaugural Knicks team in the 1946-47 season. He was the team captain and leading scorer with 8.7 points/game.
Sonny later joined the Washington Capitols, playing for future Celtics legend Red Auerbach. Similaryl, Hertzberg joined the Celtics and later retired in 1953.
After his basketball career, Sonny returned to the Knicks to become a scout and assistant coach. He spent 2 seasons on WPIX announcing Knicks games as a color commentator.
After his short broadcasting stint, Sonny pivoted into investment management. He rose up to the managing director title of the now defunct Bear Stearns. He retired from his position in 2003 before passing away in 2005 due to heart failure.
New York Knicks great Bill Bradley was born on July 28th 1943. After a touted collegiate career at Princeton, Bradley spent 6 months in the Air Force before joining the New York Knicks. Bradley spent his entire NBA career with the Knicks and won 2 championships along the way. The Knicks eventually retired his number.
After retirement, Bradley embarked on a successful political career. He spent 18 years in the US Senate representing the state of New Jersey.
July 27th 2005: The New York Knicks hire Larry Brown
In one of the more surprising, yet unsurprising heists in team history, the New York Knicks hired Larry Brown as the next head coach. Brown took the Detroit Pistons to two straight NBA Finals, winning a championship in 2004. Brown always dreamed to coach the Knicks and was allegedly lobbying for the position during the NBA Finals. Coming off a 33-49 season, Isiah Thomas and the Knicks management made a bold splash in offering Brown a 5 year contract worth $50 million.
The marriage was doomed from the start. Expectations to make the playoffs shattered early in the season. Brown publicly complained about his roster and retaliated with his multitude of starting lineups. The tensions between Brown, the players, and the front office became public very early. Brown simply sabotaged the season.
While many Larry Brown teams bottom out in their first season together, the Knicks presented a different scenario. Not only did the team bottom out, but did so in a way that simply embarrassed the franchise, fans, and the league. The Knicks bottomed out in a season where they did not have their own lottery pick. The season was an abject disaster.
Due to the nightmare of a season, the Knicks fired Brown after only one season. Brown filed a grievance against the Knicks, but ultimately settled for $28.5 million of the $50 million owed to him in total. To be quite honest, he did not deserve one penny more than the $10 million he earned during his lone season.
July 26th 2016: Amare Stoudemire retires a New York Knick
Amare Stoudemire officially signed a one-day contract with the New York Knicks to announce his retirement from the NBA. The Knicks originally signed Amare to a 5 year contract worth $100 million in 2010. He was the first superstar to join the Knicks in free agency ever.
Amare had a near-MVP start to his Knicks career. The acquisition of Carmelo Anthony mid-season allowed the Knicks to make the playoffs for the first time since 2004. However, injuries prevented the Knicks from realizing Amare’s true potential.
A nagging back injury limited Amare’s explosiveness during the lockout season. Despite making the playoffs once again, Stoudemire started showing signs of decline as a player. Knee injuries limited Stoudemire to 29 games during the 54 win campaign.
Stat returned to play 65 games during the 2013-14 season. While he showed some signs of his old self, he largely accepted a supporting role on the team, including coming off the bench. He averaged a career low 11.9 points/game.2Yes, Amare only averaged 8.7 points/game in the 3 games he played during the 2005-06 season, but I am not counting that year!
The 2014-15 season was a disaster for the Knicks. The team decided to buyout the remainder of Amare’s contract to allow him to join a playoff contender. He joined the Mavericks for the remainder of the season. His final season, 2015-16, came with Dwyane Wade and the Miami Heat.
July 25th 2012: The New York Knicks sign Ronnie Brewer
The New York Knicks continued to add more defensive oriented pieces to the roster by signing Ronnie Brewer to a contract. Brewer played the previous 2 seasons with the Chicago Bulls and was part of coach Tom Thibodeau’s bench mob. At 6’7 with a long wingspan, the Knicks expected Brewer to provide a defensive identity off the bench.
Brewer started the season as the team’s starting small forward due to Amare Stoudemire’s knee injury. Ultimately, Iman Shumpert’s return from a torn ACL pushed Brewer out of the rotation. As the Knicks sought to shore up their frontcourt depth, the team traded Brewer mid-season to the Oklahoma City Thunder for a future 2nd round pick. The team used the spot to sign Kenyon Martin.
July 24th 2012: The New York Knicks sign Pablo Prigioni
In one of Kevin Wilson’s more successful international discoveries, the New York Knicks signed Argentinian point guard Pablo Prigioni to a contract. After starting his professional basketball career in Argentina, Prigioni spent more than a decade playing in Spain. More notably, he was the point guard on the Argentinian basketball, playing alongside the legend Manu Ginobili.
Prigioni’s veteran savviness was a major benefit to the Knick roster that eventually reached the Eastern Conference Semifinals for the first time since 2000. He was an unselfish player, often very reluctant to shoot a wide open shot to instead find a wide open player for an alley oop, breakaway dunk, or three point shot. When he did shoot the ball, he was quite proficient from 3. Knicks fans loved him more for being a pest on defense. He simply pickpocketed point guards when they least expected it. He was the master of stealing inbound passes.
The Knicks rewarded his savviness with a 3 year extension after the season. He played 1.5 more years with the Knicks before joining the Houston Rockets midway through the 2014-15 season. He finished his NBA career with the Los Angeles Clippers before returning to Baskonia to become a player/coach.
Prigioni is now an assistant coach for the Minnesota Timberwolves.
July 23rd 2003: The New York Knicks trade Latrell Sprewell for Keith Van Horn
After many months of speculation, the New York Knicks officially traded Latrell Sprewell in a four-team deal for Keith Van Horn. The 76ers traded Van Horn to the Knicks and received Glenn Robinson from the Atlanta Hawks. The Minnesota Timberwolves traded Terrell Brandon to the Hawks and acquired Spree in return.
Spree got on the bad side of James Dolan & Scott Layden during the end of his Knicks tenure. He infamously missed several media training sessions. Spree often angered coaches by arriving late to team shootarounds. The final straw came during the beginning of the 2002-03 training camp when Spree showed up with a broken hand due to a boating accident. The injury forced Spree to miss the first 8 games of the regular season. Spree averaged many career lows during the 2002-03 season. The Knicks’ pursuit for high character players led to Spree’s departure.
Ironically, Van Horn spent the preceding year with the Philadelphia 76ers. The 76ers originally drafted him, but traded him to the Nets in a draft-day deal for Tim Thomas. Van Horn had a relatively efficient year in his lone season with the 76ers even when averaging around 16 points/game. He spent most of his time playing power forward. The trade shifted him back to his natural position at small forward.
The biggest questions surrounding Van Horn related to his perceived softness and ability to handle the pressures of New York. While he had a productive half-season with the Knicks, he wasn’t truly able to answer both questions. New GM Isiah Thomas traded Van Horn to Milwaukee for Tim Thomas & Nazr Mohammed.
Spree instantly fit into a stacked Timberwolves roster featuring Kevin Garnett & Sam Cassell. Spree played all 82 games and averaged 17 points/game. He felt a major rejuvenation as he helped lead the Timberwolves to the Western Conference Finals. The WCF berth led Garnett to his first MVP award. Unfortunately, injuries in their backcourt to Cassell & Troy Hudson led to their defeat to the Los Angeles Lakers in 6.
Spree played 1 more season with the Timberwolves. Shortly after the 2004-05 season, Spree infamously rejected a 3 year $21 million extension because “he had a family to feed.” After the season ended, no NBA team offered Spree a contract and his basketball career ended.