On This Date: The NBA Retires Nate Robinson’s Summer League jersey

July 20th 2008: The NBA retires Nate Robinson’s Summer League jersey

As a funny joke to Nate Robinson’s summer league prowess, the NBA decided to retire his jersey. He miraculously played in the Summer League every year during his 4 seasons in the NBA. He won the Summer League MVP in 2007 after leading the Knicks to an undefeated record.

During halftime of the Knicks/Timberwolves game, Nate’s Summer League jersey was put up into the rafters. It was one of the memorable moments in Vegas Summer League history. Unfortunately, a maintenance guy did not seem to have any fun and decided to remove his jersey the next day.

On This Date: Knicks decline to match Jackie Butler’s offer sheet

July 19th 2006: The New York Knicks decline to match Jackie Butler’s offer sheet

The New York Knicks declined to match Jackie Butler’s offer sheet after the San Antonio Spurs offered him a 3 year contract worth $7 million. Butler originally signed with the Knicks as a 19 year old shortly after the 2004-05 trade deadline. Butler played only 3 games that season. However, Butler received more minutes at backup center under coach Larry Brown. In 55 games, Butler averaged 5.3 points/game and 3.3 rebounds/game.

Butler was viewed as a promising prospect during his Knicks tenure. Both Brown & GM Isiah Thomas often referred to him as a bonus 1st round pick. He even received clutch minutes at the center position during close games.

However, the Spurs presented a lucrative offer sheet for Butler. The Knicks decided not to match the offer due to the glut of big men on the team. Although Butler won a ring with the Spurs in the 2006-07 season, he only played 11 games and didn’t contribute much. The Spurs traded him to the Houston Rockets in the next offseason and the latter waived him shortly before the beginning of the year.

Despite showing plenty of potential, Butler never panned out in the NBA after leaving the Knicks. Issues with conditioning plagued his tenure in San Antonio. He never seemed to play with much effort or desire. After being waived, he disappeared from the spotlight and it’s unknown whether he stepped foot on a basketball court again.

On This Date: Knicks sign Jason Smith

July 18th 2014: The New York Knicks sign Jason Smith

The New York Knicks shored up some of their frontcourt depth by signing Jason Smith to a one year contract. Smith came off a season where he missed most of the season due to right knee surgery. Despite the injury, Smith came to the Knicks with a reputation of being a physical player with a decent propensity to score from mid-range.

Despite the meager expectations, Smith somehow ended up playing all 82 games in the season. He started 31 of those games and averaged 8.0 points/game and 4.0 rebounds/game. Even though the Knicks dealt with a major collapse early on in the season, Smith continued to play and eventually showed consistent effort on both ends of the floor.

After the season, Smith left to join the Orlando Magic.

On This Date: Knicks don’t match Jeremy Lin’s offer sheet

July 17th 2012: The New York Knicks do not match Jeremy Lin’s offer sheet

To the shock of many fans, the New York Knicks officially did not match Jeremy Lin’s offer sheet and thus allowed him to sign with the Houston Rockets. Lin originally signed an offer sheet worth 4 years and $28.9 million. The contract itself was guaranteed for $19 million. The Knicks previously proclaimed that they would match any offer sheet offered to Lin.

However, Rockets GM Daryl Morey added a poison pill into the contract. He revised the offer sheet to include a $15 million balloon salary in his 3rd year. Morey revised the contract to a 3 year $25 million deal. The $15 million contract. The third year of the contract would have cost the Knicks almost $40 million in luxury tax alone. After Morey revised the offer sheet, the Knicks felt hesitation in matching the contract.

At the same time, James Dolan felt betrayed that Lin and/or Morey went back to revise the contract. The lack of loyalty and trust definitely played a role in the aftermath of the offer sheet. The Knicks subsequently acquired Raymond Felton, officially putting Lin’s future with the team in jeopardy.

Due to the factors above, the Knicks didn’t match the Rockets’ offer sheet. Fans were clearly disappointed after witnessing Linsanity. In hindsight, it was the right move for the franchise. Lin only played one solid season during the contract (2012-13), but a propensity for turnovers and unease playing with both James Harden & Kobe Bryant demised him over the remainder of the deal.

On This Date: Knicks sign Metta World Peace

July 16th 2013: The New York Knicks sign Metta World Peace

The player formerly known as Ron Artest returned home to New York on a 2 year minimum contract deal. Metta spent the previous 4 seasons with the Lakers and won a ring in 2010. The Lakers amnestied him shortly after the beginning of the 2013 Free Agency.

Most of the hype surrounding Metta was around the idea of returning home. At the outset, his quirky personality resonated amongst Knicks fans, beginning with an impromptu interview on MSG shortly after his signing in the Vegas Summer League.

His idiosyncrasies carried into training camp and the regular season with his funny interviews and media sessions. Unfortunately, Metta never got a fair shot with the Knicks. A combination of injuries and a downward spiraling record led to reduced minutes and frustration. In addition, Metta somewhat exposed the influence CAA had within the Knicks organization. As a result, the Knicks bought him out shortly after the trade deadline.

On This Date: Nate Robinson wins Summer League MVP

July 15th 2007: Nate Robinson wins the Vegas Summer League MVP

Although several Knicks rookies shined historically in the Vegas Summer League, it was Nate Robinson that redefined the thresholds of greatness in Sin City. After two relatively decent seasons in the NBA, Nate found motivation to continue to hone his skills in Vegas as he entered his third season. At the time, it was often rare to see 3rd year players return to Vegas barring a major injury or underachieving performance.

For Nate Rob, this was additional motivation. During the Knicks’ 5 game stretch in Vegas, Nate averaged 18.8 points/game and 6 assists/game on 48% from the field to win the Vegas Summer League MVP. He led the Knicks to a perfect 5-0 record in Vegas.

Nate took the Summer League energy to have a solid 3rd season in the NBA. He averaged 12.7 points/game mostly off the bench. He became a spark plug off the bench with Mike D’Antoni, averaging 17.2 points/game in the 2008-09 campaign.

On This Date: Knicks sign Allan Houston, Chris Childs, and trade for Larry Johnson

July 14th 1996: The Knicks 1996 Free Agency: Allan Houston, Chris Childs, Allan Houston

In one day, the New York Knicks officially transformed their roster to make a final championship run during the final stretch of Patrick Ewing’s prime. The Knicks acquired 3 key pieces to their starting lineup, including a new backcourt. First, the Knicks signed Chris Childs to a 6 year $24 million contract. The Knicks announced that they signed Allan Houston to a 7 year $56 million contract. Finally, the Knicks acquired former #1 overall pick Larry Johnson from the Charlotte Hornets for Anthony Mason & Brad Lohaus.

Heading into the 1996 free agency, the Knicks’ main goals were to find a 2nd superstar to pair with Ewing or find a core of young players to provide more offensive firepower. The original tea leaves suggested the Knicks sought Reggie Miller & Michael Jordan, but neither option was plausible. The Knicks signed Childs, 28, after a solid sophomore season with the New Jersey Nets where he averaged 12.8 points/game and 7.0 assists/game. The Knicks appreciated his toughness and poise on both ends of the floor. Childs replaced the older Derek Harper and immediately cemented his spot as the starting point guard.

Houston, 25, was one of the top free agent shooting guards on the market. He came off a season where he averaged a then-high 19.7 points/game and 2.3 three pointers made/game. He was known as a sharpshooter with the Pistons and brought that same dexterity to a Knicks roster that needed more perimeter shooting. Houston joined Childs in the starting lineup.

The most controversial move was acquiring Johnson for Lohaus and Mason. Johnson, 27, was on a long-term contract with 7 years and $84 million remaining. He also suffered a back injury during the 1993-94 season that would later hamper him during his Knicks tenure. Mason represented the tough and gritty Knicks defense of the early 90s. However, the team sought more offensive firepower and felt Johnson provided it despite the back issues. Additionally, the team was probably frustrated with the various on and off-court issues that plagued Mason during his Knicks tenure. Johnson never regained the athletic touch and offensive firepower he had during his early Charlotte days. He instead reinvented his game to become more of a perimeter threat and a clutch performer, especially in the 1999 NBA Playoffs.

On This Date: Knicks Re-Sign Melo to a 5 year Contract Extension

July 13th 2014: The New York Knicks re-sign Carmelo Anthony to a 5 year extension

The New York Knicks re-signed Carmelo Anthony to a 5 year extension worth $124 million contract that officially defined both Melo and Phil Jackson’s legacy with the organization. Melo came off a season where he averaged 27.4 points/game and a career high 8.1 rebounds/game in a career high 38.7 minutes/game. He also scored a Knick record 62 points against the Charlotte Bobcats.

When Phil Jackson joined the organization, one of the shared edicts between him and James Dolan was to bring a championship to New York. They both shared that it would be accomplished with Carmelo Anthony. While Melo temporarily pondered joining the Bulls and Lakers, he could not resist the 5 years and $124 million the Knicks offered him. Additionally, it was the addition of the no-trade clause that defined both Melo and Phil’s reputation with the organization.

Unfortunately, the contract proved to be a disaster for both the Knicks & Phil Jackson. Melo continued his scoring prowess with 24.2 points/game during the 2014-15 campaign, but knee soreness early on in the season eventually led to knee surgery shortly after the 2015 NBA All Star Game held in New York. To make things worse, Melo delayed the surgery beyond the All Star Game so that he could play in the game as a starter. That decision proved to be costly to Melo’s career.

Melo received another All Star starter berth during the 2015-16 season and averaged a career high 4.2 assists/game under the principles of the triangle offense. Unfortunately, the knee surgery limited a lot of Melo’s offensive touches to the perimeter. His ability to explode to the rim and get to the line were all but diminished.

Melo started the 2016-17 season with a 3rd head coach and another round of an overhauled roster. He came off 3 straight seasons where the Knicks missed the playoffs. With expectations to reach the playoffs high, the Knicks started the season at a near .500 record and within reach of the 8 seed. However, a public feud with Phil ultimately torpedoed the season and destroyed his relationship with the New York Knicks. This was the beginning of the end of Melo’s tenure in New York.

Months after Phil left the organization, the Knicks sought suitors for Melo. The no-trade clause severely limited their trading options as Melo desired to join a contender, particularly in Cleveland or Houston. The Knicks had the workings of a deal with the Rockets in early July, but called off the trade after Scott Perry joined the organization. Shortly before the beginning of training camp, Perry convinced Melo to accept a trade to the Oklahoma City Thunder.

The Knicks traded Melo 2 days before training camp to the Oklahoma City Thunder for Enes Kanter, Doug McDermott, and the 2018 Chicago Bulls 2nd round pick. The Knicks dealt McDermott at the trade deadline in a 3 team deal that netted Emmanuel Mudiay. The 2018 Bulls 2nd round pick became Mitchell Robinson.

Perhaps the shining point of Melo’s tenure in NY was being able to net Mitchell Robinson.

On This Date: Knicks sign Raymond Felton (the first time around)

July 12th 2010: The New York Knicks sign Raymond Felton to a two-year contract

The 2nd biggest splash for the New York Knicks in the 2010 NBA Free Agency was not LeBron James, but rather Raymond Felton. The Knicks signed him to a 2 year contract worth nearly $15 million. Felton was the top free agent point guard on the market. Felton, drafted 5th overall by the Bobcats in the 2005 NBA Draft, missed only 11 games during his first 5 years in the league. His best season with the Bobcats came in the 2007-08 season where he averaged 14.4 points/game and 7.4 assists/game. Larry Brown coached Felton in the previous 2 seasons, leading the Bobcats to the playoffs in the preceding year.

With the Knicks, Felton joined forces with Mike D’Antoni, who attempted to unleash his scoring and passing abilities in a fast-paced offense. Alongside Amare Stoudemire, Felton proved to be an adroit pick and roll partner. In his first season, Felton averaged a then career high 17.1 points/game and 9.0 assists/game in a career high 38.4 minutes/game.

The Knicks ultimately dealt Felton to the Denver Nuggets in the Carmelo Anthony trade. The team eventually re-acquired him in a sign-and-trade before the 2012-13 season, albeit at a lower contract value of 3 years/$10 million. Unfortunately, Felton’s production in his second roundabout with the team never matched his half-a-season performance under Mike D’Antoni.

On This Date: Knicks re-acquire Marcus Camby

July 11th 2012: The New York Knicks re-acquire Marcus Camby

The New York Knicks and Marcus Camby officially reunited on this date in a sign-and-trade deal with the Houston Rockets. In return for Camby, the Rockets received Toney Douglas, Josh Harrellson, Jerome Jordan, and two future 2nd round picks. The Knicks signed Camby to a 3 year contract worth $13.2 million

Camby re-joined the Knicks after the disastrous 2002 trade with the Denver Nuggets. After leaving the Knicks, Camby expressed frustration with both James Dolan and the Knicks medical staff. Camby’s issues with Dolan resulted from the implementation of his media policy in 2001. The issues with the medical staff dated from not properly diagnosing the various injuries during his tenure.

The Knicks continued their push to surround Carmelo Anthony with veterans. For some reason, that meant surrounding him with the oldest of oldest veterans possible. It meant giving 39 year old Jason Kidd a 3 year $9 million contract. It also meant reuniting Camby’s teammate Kurt Thomas with the organization. Giving a 38 year old Camby a $13 million contract seemed odd then and looks just as odd now. The contract is baffling despite Camby playing 59 of 66 games during the lockout 2011-12 season.

Although the veteran presence helped the Knicks win 54 games, the energy wasn’t sustainable through the playoffs. Many of those veterans, including Camby, couldn’t last the entire season. Camby only played 24 games during the regular season and was dealt after the season in the disastrous Andrea Bargnani trade.

As for the players dealt, only Douglas managed to play in the NBA after the trade. Douglas stayed in the NBA through the 2016-17 campaign. However, he never achieved some of the highs he reached while in New York.

On This Date: Knicks hire Stu Jackson as the next head coach

July 10th 1989: The New York Knicks pick Stu Jackson as the next head coach

Nearly 6 weeks after Rick Pitino left the New York Knicks to coach the University of Kentucky basketball team, the team decided to hire Stu Jackson as the next head coach. Jackson, then 33 years old, became the 2nd youngest NBA coach in history at the time. Jackson previously was an assistant coach for Pitino with the Knicks and at Providence College.

Jackson brought a slower pace of basketball compared to the bomb squad teams that Pitino employed. The pace of play was more half court oriented and didnt emphasize the three point shot.

Jackson was 45-37 in his first season and made it to the Eastern Conference Semifinals. However, the Knicks fired him in the next season after starting the year 7-8. Internal tensions with the coaching staff and various players led to his demise as the head coach.

5 Questions with Vivek: Knicks @ Raptors 07-09-2019

5 Questions: Knicks vs. Suns:

Who will finally win their first Summer League game?

The Knicks & Raptors are both searching for their first summer league win. The Raptors lost last night against Lonnie Walker and the San Antonio Spurs. The Raptors’ lone standout player on the roster is Chris Boucher. Boucher coincidentally won a ring in his first two seasons with the Warriors & Raptors respectively. While the chances of a Summer League championship are slim, he will look to capitalize off a 24 points, 12 rebounds effort against the Spurs. The Knicks lost the first two games after blowing significant leads against the New Orleans Pelicans & Phoenix Suns. The Knicks look to finally preserve a lead.

Will this be the end of Summer League for our Knick sophomores?

So far, Kadeem Allen, Allonzo Trier, Kevin Knox, & Mitchell Robinson had solid starts so far in Summer League. With the exception of Trier, who missed the previous game due to an “illness,” all of the players received significant rotation minutes. With Summer League eventually coming to an end, it’s imperative for the Knicks to evaluate some of their other invites. This includes players such as VJ King, Billy Preston, Zak Irvin, Amir Hinton, and Lamar Peters amongst other players who either played sparingly or not at all.

Will the Iggy-Woooten-Cavanaugh show go on?

Ignas “Iggy” Brazdeikis put on a spectacle against the Suns with a team-high 30 points on 11-19 from the field, 3-6 from three, 8 rebounds, and 2 assists. His energy excited the crowd and his physicality allowed him to get plenty of opportunities to score. Kenny Wooten brought an increased level of hustle and defensive energy on the floor. Even when Mitch sat, the Suns had to be reminded that Wooten is a beast at the chase down blocks. His defensive energy was contagious. Tyler Cavanaugh had another solid effort with 12 points off the bench and led the team with 8 free throws attempted.

Can we get RJ Barrett going?

RJ’s effort is present, but the shots are just not falling right now. He’s simply pressing out there. The shots are not falling and a lot of his passes are missing the zip that we saw at Duke as evident by the 8 turnovers. RJ should be able to receive some nice words of wisdom from his parents who were in attendance in the game against the Suns. Additionally, RJ should also remember Trae Young’s performance last season as inspiration to trust his work and improve.

Can anyone play defense, pass the ball, or not turn the ball over?

Yes, it’s only summer league, but the Knicks should not have 21 turnovers on 15 assists. Yes, RJ & Iggy combined for 13 of the 21 turnovers, but it’s not a good look. The lack of assists mirrored the season-long issue with the Knicks. Kadeem Allen led the team with 6, but there just wasn’t enough passing. Perhaps utilizing some Spain P&R would certainly help. Furthermore, the Knicks lost a good chunk of the lead in the 2nd half once the Suns capitalized on the Knicks’ piss poor footwork in the P&R defense. Fixing the gaping holes in P&R will be tough during Summer League, but it should be a point of emphasis on Coach Fizdale’s staff.


On This Date: The Knicks sign-and-trade David Lee to the Golden State Warriors

July 9th 2010: The New York Knicks signed-and-traded David Lee to the Golden State Warriors

In response to the Amare Stoudemire signing, the New York Knicks signed and traded David Lee to the Golden State Warriors. In return, the Knicks received Anthony Randolph, Kelenna Azubuike, Ronny Turiaf, and a 2012 and 2013 2nd round pick. Lee signed a 6 year contract worth near $80 million.

Lee was a rare Knick that lasted through his original rookie contract and his qualifying offer. Lee made the NBA All Star Team in the prior season and proved to be a double double machine with the capability of hitting the midrange basket at ease. Ultimately, the Knicks’ pursuit of superstars made Lee expendable.

Lee had 4 solid seasons with the Warriors including an All Star berth in 2013. A strained left hamstring during the 2014-15 preseason completely changed the fortunes for the Warriors team. The injury opened up an opportunity for Draymond Green. After that, the rest was history. Lee won a championship in 2015, but spent his final 3 seasons between the Boston Celtics & San Antonio Spurs.

As for the Knicks acquired in the trade, Turiaf made an immediate impact as both a starter and as a backup center. Randolph played sparingly with the Knicks and Azubuike missed the entire season due to a knee injury he suffered in the previous season. He never played with the Knicks as the team waived him shortly after the trade deadline.

Randolph was sent to the Timberwolves as part of the Carmelo Anthony trade. The two 2nd round picks acquired went to the Denver Nuggets in the trade. The Knicks dealt Turiaf in the Tyson Chandler sign-and-trade.

On This Date: Amare Stoudemire agrees to join the Knicks

June 8th 2010: Amare Stoudemire agrees to sign with the New York Knicks

The Knicks are back! The 4 words that undeniably changed the trajectory of the Knicks franchise heading into the next decade. With the Knicks’ back against the wall in the LeBron James sweepstakes, the team agreed to a 5 year $99.7 million contract. The hope was that Amare would be the second piece needed to lure LeBron to NY. The Knicks spent basically two years doing whatever was possible from a salary cap perspective to lure LeBron. Unfortunately, the Knicks didn’t foresee the Miami Heat, who ended up freeing up enough space to team LeBron with Dwyane Wade & Chris Bosh.

The Phoenix Suns, then run by General Manager Steve Kerr, were hesitant to offer Amare a 5 year contract due to his previous knee issues from 2005. Kerr believed that there was a minimal shelf life for players that underwent microfracture surgeries like Amare did. Kerr also wanted to fully insure Amare’s contract. Donnie Walsh, on the other hand, didn’t find his knee issues to be much of an issue and gave him a full 5 year maximum contract uninsured.

At the same time, the Knicks spent 2 years dumping assets and salaries all for the pursuit of LeBron. Striking out on all the star free agents was not a good look for the franchise. The team needed to sell sponsorships and tickets. Amare could do that and, no offense, bringing back David Lee wasn’t the answer anymore.

As Kerr predicted, the Amare era didn’t last that long on the court. After having a near MVP first season with the Knicks, multiple injuries limited Amare to only 76 of a possible 148 games over the next 2 seasons. Back injuries first surfaced during the 2011 playoffs during a pregame dunk. He then suffered a bulging disk in his back during the lockout campaign that kept him out for almost a month. To add insult to injury, Amare injured his wrist after punching a fire extinguisher in the playoffs against the Miami Heat. A knee injury suffered in training camp eventually forced Amare to miss most of the 2012-13 season.

By the time the 2013-14 season began, Amare (at the age of 31) was essentially a shell of his former shelf. His presence as a dominating #1 or #2 option were long gone. He was not a 30+ minute player anymore. His offensive explosiveness was reduced to occasional dunks and the more routine midrange buckets. Although Amare played 65 games in the campaign, he was seen as an albatross as the Knicks missed the playoffs for the first time in his Knicks tenure.

The 2014-15 season proved to be a dumpster fire from the get-go. After the decision to tank early in January, Amare’s days with the Knicks were just about finished. The Knicks eventually bought him out well before the deadline for him to sign with a playoff contender. Amare signed with the Dallas Mavericks and played limited minutes with the team. He spent his final NBA season in his native state of Florida with the Miami Heat.

Amare left two lasting legacies with the Knicks: his MVP-esque season and Carmelo Anthony. Amare had an undeniably historic start with the Knicks. The streak of 30 point games electrified the Garden. Amare literally carried the team. He was also instrumental in convincing Carmelo Anthony to come home in New York, even if it meant trading most of the young assets and draft picks. With Melo, the Knicks reached the playoffs for 3 straight seasons, the first such-standing streak since the late 1990s.

However, Amare was never a true fit on the floor with Carmelo Anthony. Amare’s offensive game suffered as Melo’s prospered over time. The acquisition of Tyson Chandler also hurt Amare’s role on the team on both ends of the floors. In the end of the day, Amare did help bring the Knicks back to a level or relevance missing for nearly a decade.

5 Questions with Vivek: Knicks vs. Suns 07-07-2019

In a new segment for Knicks Film School “5 Questions with Vivek,” I ask 5 questions to preview the upcoming game. In this case, I’m previewing tonight’s matchup against the Phoenix Suns:

5 Questions: Knicks vs. Suns:

Will Cam Johnson & Ty Jerome come out with a Summer League splash?

The Phoenix Suns orchestrated a draft-day trade with the Minnesota Timberwolves to send the #6 pick (Jarrett Culver) to Minnesota for the #11 pick (Cameron Johnson) & Dario Saric. Additionally, the Suns acquired Aron Baynes & the draft rights to Ty Jerome from the Boston Celtics for the Milwaukee Bucks future 1st round draft pick. Both deals became official yesterday, thus allowing Jerome & Johnson to suit up for the Suns. Both players are expected to suit up and should look forward to excite the crowd against the Knicks.

Will RJ Barrett overcome his shooting struggles?

Clearly RJ Barrett came out of the summer league gates with a boatload of excitement. Hey, it’s his first true NBA game (albeit Summer League) and he’s on national TV against his former teammate Zion Williamson. Unfortunately, both Duke players had a somewhat disappointing start. Zion left the game after the 1st half with a bruised left knee that will sideline him for the remainder of the Summer League. RJ, on the other hand, couldn’t hit the side of a barn. Maybe it’s due to the first game jitters. Perhaps game 2 will help RJ relax and better find his shot.

Is this the Billy Garrett Jr. revenge game?

After a cup of tea with the Knicks roster late last year, Billy Garrett Jr. got an invitation to join the Suns’ summer league squad. Garrett didn’t get to play Friday night due to the 7.1 earthquake that cancelled their summer league debut. With the return of Johnson, there may not be a plentiful amount of minutes to direct to Garrett Jr., but it’s worth noticing tonight.

Who will be a part of the Knicks’ bench unit?

In the summer league opener, the Knicks sent out Kenny Wooten, Ignas Brazdeikis, and Lamar Peters as part of their main bench rotation. Summer League is an opportunity for the Knicks to evaluate their entire roster. Perhaps we see some more opportunities for Amir Hinton or VJ King over the next couple games coupled with a decrease of minutes for our starting lineup.

Will we pass the ball?

One thing for certain, passing was quite optional during the first game. The Knicks had 11 assists and 10 turnovers. With a more cohesive summer league unit, we should expect the passing numbers to be a bit better compared to some of the other teams. Look forward to our guards (Kadeem Allen & Allonzo Trier) to prove me wrong in distributing the ball. Additionally, look forward to RJ Barrett refocusing his approach and showcasing some of his passing abilities he showed at Duke.

On This Date: Knicks acquire Truck Robinson

July 7th 1982: The New York Knicks trade for Truck Robinson

The New York Knicks opened up their 1982 offseason by acquiring Truck Robinson in trade with the Phoenix Suns for Maurice Lucas.

Before joining the Knicks, Truck was known as one of the top forwards in the league. The combination of his strength and quickness allowed him to play both forward positions with ease. His ability to make jump shots allowed him to attack the paint with ferocity. He was a two-time NBA All Star, with the New Orleans Jazz & Phoenix Suns respectively.

His best season was in 1978 when he averaged 22.7 points/game and 15.7 rebounds/game. He was the NBA rebounding champion that season and also made the All-NBA First Team.

At the time of the trade, Robinson averaged 19.1 points/game and 9.7 rebounds/game with the Suns in the previous season. With the Suns, Robinson still had the onus of carrying the team offensively and defensively. New coach Hubie Brown anticipated Truck to be a versatile forward for the team.

With Bernard King on the roster, Hubie decided to reduce Truck’s role to prioritize defense over offense. Unfortunately, his entire game suffered as a result. Truck’s points and rebounds per game both significantly declined. He averaged a near career worst 9.5 points/game and 8.1 rebounds/game in his first full season with the Knicks. Fans complained that they had a “truck with four flat tires” and would deride him with chants of “Dump Truck.”

Truck played another full season with the Knicks before retiring at the end of the 1984-85 season after missing all but two games with a broken bone in his foot.

On This Date: The New York Knicks hire Don Nelson

July 6th 1995: The New York Knicks hire Don Nelson as their next head coach

Weeks after Pat Riley abruptly resigned, the Knicks went ahead to hire Don Nelson as their next head coach. Nelson came off a campaign where he resigned from the Warriors mid-season after starting the year 14-31. He spent much of the 1993-94 season embroiled in a conflict with their #1 pick Chris Webber.

Nelson sought to bring an uptempo pace to a Knick roster largely built in their halfcourt motions. The match was basically doomed from the start. Although starting the season on a high note, the Knicks hit a rough patch after the New Year. Tensions arose between Nelson, Patrick Ewing & John Starks.

Nelson de-emphasized Ewing’s role in the offense and made Anthony Mason the focal point. Although Mason had a then-career year with the Knicks showcasing his point forward abilities, Ewing was frustrated with his role on offense. Additionally, Nelson reduced Starks’ playing time for Hubert Davis.

The climax occurred when word got out that Nelson wanted the Knicks to trade Ewing in order to pursue Shaquille O’Neal in free agency. This point marked the beginning of the end of his coaching tenure with the organization.

The Knicks fired Nelson midseason after posting a 34-25 record. The conflicts proved to be too much to overcome. The Knicks appointed Jeff Van Gundy as the interim head coach. Van Gundy remained the head coach through the 2001-02 season. Additionally, Van Gundy retained Don Chaney, an original Nelson assistant, as his main assistant coach. Chaney took over as head coach in 2001 after Van Gundy abruptly resigned.

In hindsight, Nelson sought to implement a modern offense that teams would eventually replicate. However, the older personnel on the roster were not equipped to run his offense at the time.

Group Project: How to Maximize RJ’s Summer League

Steve Mills: Professor, are you ready for us?

Yes, yes. Come in. I was just reviewing your grades from past projects, ummm…are we all here? Good, good. Take a seat.

Now, as you know, I’ve been meeting with every group to ensure we’re all headed in the right direction, but this one I’ve had marked on my calendar. I won’t sugarcoat it – the pressure’s on, folks.

Continue reading →

Analyzing the on-court strengths and weaknesses of the newest Knicks

To the enjoyment of many NBA fans outside of New York, the Knicks were, as you are likely well aware, unable to lure in a superstar this past week.

Following their failure to land a game-changing stud, Scott Perry and Steve Mills got straight to work and fulfilled their Plan B. The Knicks filled the barrel with veterans and interesting young players on short-term deals, looking to push the team back towards respectability while also assisting the development of their young core.

There are many ways that this new batch of vets can help the younger Knicks fulfill their maximum potential. One of them is very simple: being more competitive can lead to more fruitful development.

So, how will each of the new Knicks additions help the team on its quest back to legitimacy? Recently, I took a comprehensive dive into Julius Randle’s skillset. Here, we’ll dig into the primary strengths and weaknesses of the other five free agent additions making their way to 4 Pennsylanvia Plaza.

Continue reading →

On This Date: The Knicks agree to sign Kyle O’Quinn

July 5th 2015: The New York Knicks agree to sign Kyle O’Quinn

The Knicks agreed to bring Queens native Kyle O’Quinn home on a 4 year contract worth $16 million. It took a sign-and-trade to officially bring O’Quinn home. The Knicks sent cash and the right to swap a 2019 2nd round pick utilized in this past draft.

During his tenure with the Magic, O’Quinn proved to be an efficient backup center with a knack to pass the ball and defend his position. Phil Jackson especially envisioned his passing abilities when signing him to a contract.

One of O’Quinn’s motivations to come home was to be close to his family. Unfortunately, O’Quinn suffered tragedy shortly after his signing when his father passed away in an automobile crash.

O’Quinn had an okay first season, but it was largely clouded by the tragedy surrounding his father. He showed marked improvement in his 2nd season under new coach Jeff Hornacek. O’Quinn not only blocked more than 100 shots, but showcased some of his signature backdoor passes to the Knicks wings.

In the 2017-18 season, O’Quinn cemented a role as the Knicks’ primary backup center due to his defense. He posted career highs in nearly every category including points, FG%, rebounds, and assists.

In addition to his performance on the floor, O’Quinn proved to be an exemplary citizen off the court. He appeared at plenty of Knicks community events, G-League games, and even New York Liberty games. O’Quinn basked in being back home in New York and embraced the local basketball scene in any way possible.

After the 2017-18 season, O’Quinn opted out of his final season to sign a 1 year contract with the Indiana Pacers. Overall, this was probably one of Phil Jackson’s best acquisitions. I hope O’Quinn comes back home this season.

On This Date: Knicks agree to sign Brandon Jennings

July 4th 2016: The New York Knicks agree to sign Brandon Jennings to a contract

The Knicks completed their blockbuster 2016 offseason by signing Brandon Jennings to a 1 year $5 million contract using their midlevel exception. Jennings spent much of the previous season recovering from the Achilles injury he suffered during the 2014-15 campaign.

Jennings publicly desired to play in New York dating back to the 2009 NBA Draft. He expressed frustration after the Knicks didn’t draft him and often sought revenge whenever facing the team in Madison Square Garden.

Jennings entered the season as the team’s backup point guard. He occasionally dazzled the MSG crowd with his flashy passing. Unfortunately, his offensive and defensive abilities clearly didn’t recover from before the Achilles injury.

After desiring an opportunity to join a playoff contender, the Knicks waived Jennings before the March 1st deadline to sign Chasson Randle. Jennings subsequently signed with the Washington Wizards for the remainder of the season. Since that season, Jennings hopped between playing with the Milwaukee Bucks organization (both G-League and NBA), and overseas in China and Russia.

On This Date: Knicks agree to sign Robin Lopez

July 3rd 2015: The New York Knicks agree to sign Robin Lopez to a 4 year contract

The Knicks made their first big splash in the 2015 free agency by agreeing to sign Robin Lopez to a 4 year, $54 million contract. The Knicks went into free agency looking for a big man to complement both Carmelo Anthony and Kristaps Porzingis. After striking out on Greg Monroe, the Knicks agreed to a contract with Lopez.

Lopez had a solid 2014-15 campaign with the Trailblazers even after missing 23 games with a broken hand. Lopez showed durability over the previous few seasons and proved to be a serviceable rotational player in the lineup.

Lopez played all 82 games for the Knicks and had a solid season with 10.3 ppg and 1.6 blocks/game in 27.1 minutes/game. Outside of his presence on the floor, Lopez showed to be a solid member in the Knicks community and was often a frequent target of the NBA mascots. Knicks fans learned a lot about his affinity for Disney and Star Wars.

Unfortunately, the Knicks only got 1 year out of Lopez. The team dealt Lopez to the Bulls in a package for Derrick Rose. Unfortunately, the trade forced the Knicks to sign Joakim Noah. The rest is history.

On This Date: The Knicks agree to sign Arron Afflalo

July 2nd 2015: The New York Knicks agree to sign Arron Afflalo to a 2 year $16 million contract

The Knicks agreed to sign Arron Afflalo to a 2 year $16 million contract. Afflalo reunited with Carmelo Anthony, whom he played with for 1.5 seasons in Denver. Afflalo spent the previous season with the Nuggets & Trailblazers.

Afflalo started the season on a slow note with a hamstring injury that sidelined him for the first 8 games of the season. He slotted into the starting SG position and had an overall decent season. For some bizarre reason, interim head coach Kurt Rambis decided to bench Afflalo in March to supposedly “provide offensive firepower” off the bench. With the Knicks’ season already on a downward spiral, the benching didn’t help.

After the season, Afflalo declined his $8 million player option. He made a smart gamble because he received a 2 year $25 million contract from the Sacramento Kings. The Kings waived him in the following offseason and he played a season with the Orlando Magic. He didn’t play in the NBA in the previous season.

July 1st Roster Update

If you know a Knicks’ fan claiming they are happy we didn’t get Kevin Durant, it is your duty as a friend to get them help. Things did not go the way we wanted yesterday. It’s okay to be upset, to be frustrated, but let’s accelerate the mourning the way we hoped to accelerate the rebuild. Let’s stop lamenting what was or could have been and begin looking at what is and what’s on the horizon. Let’s start with a roster breakdown (with ’18-19 stats) as it stands right now.

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