On This Date: Knicks crush Cavs and Latrell Sprewell remains with Knicks

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December 2, 2002: The New York Knicks crushed the Cleveland Cavaliers 125-93 and Latrell Sprewell remains a Knick for the remainder of the season

The Knicks capped a three-game winning streak, crushing the Cleveland Cavaliers by 32 points. For the Cavs, this game marked the 15th straight loss for the team which further put them in greater odds to win the LeBron James sweepstakes.

Latrell Sprewell had a double double with 20 points and 11 assists. Allan Houston led the team with 29 points and 5 three pointers made. Kurt Thomas scored 22 points and set a career high with 6 blocked shots.

The day also marked the expiration of the Disabled Player Exception (DPE) granted after the Antonio McDyess season ending injury. The NBA granted the exception to the Knicks on October 18th (the day after the injury) for $4.55 million.

Per the 1999 CBA, the NBA could grant a DPE to players who definitely will be out for the entire NBA season.  The value of the DPE was the lower of 50% of the player’s current year salary or the average player’s salary during the preceding season. The average player’s salary ($4.55 million) was less than 1/2 of McDyess’ 2002-03 salary of $12.6 million.

The Knicks were trying to package Sprewell along with the DPE to acquire another player, specifically a big man who could provide some necessary rebounding and shot blocking.  However, the market for big men was in high demand and the Knicks weren’t able to find a deal that made sense for the roster.

The league revised the DPE guidelines in future CBAs to state that the value of the DPE was the lower of 50% of the player’s current year salary or the non-taxpayer’s mid-level exception.