January 14, 2004: The Don Chaney era ends
The Don Chaney era came to an end on this date as Isiah Thomas fired him shortly before their impending game against the Orlando Magic. After going through a morning shootaround, Chaney and assistant coaches Brendan Malone & Lon Kruger received notice that they were relieved of their duties.
The news came of no surprise to Chaney, outside of perhaps the timing of the firing. Despite serving as an assistant coach under both Don Nelson and Jeff Van Gundy, Chaney wasn’t able to replicate their success. He was 72-112 in the 2+ seasons as head coach of the Knicks. He took over the interim coaching duties after Jeff Van Gundy suddenly resigned. Chaney inherited a roster of aging veterans, fringe youth players, and injury-prone players. Both Marcus Camby & Antonio McDyess missed significant chunks of games with injuries during his tenure.
At the time of the firing, the Knicks were 15-24. Despite rumors of hiring Chuck Daly & Mike Fratello, Isiah instead selected Lenny Wilkens as the new head coach. Wilkens, a Brooklyn native, returned home after the Raptors fired him at the end of the 2002-03 season. Wilkens had moderate success as the Knicks head coach with a 40-41 record and a playoff berth in his first season. He resigned midway during the 2004-05 season and ultimately retired from coaching.
January 14, 2018: Knicks call up Trey Burke
The Knicks called up Trey Burke from the Westchester Knicks on this date. Burke initially signed with the Knicks during the preseason, but was waived only a few days later. Rather than playing overseas or with the Oklahoma City Thunder, as originally rumored, Burke decided to hone his point guard skills with the Westchester Knicks.
After having a solid rookie season, Burke gradually fell out of the rotation between his stints with the Jazz & Wizards. Knowing that his success in the NBA would hinge on his point guard skills, he found an opportunity in the G-League as a prime opportunity to develop. While in the G-League, Burke averaged 26.6 points, 2.7 threes/game, 5.5 assists/game, and 1.9 steals/game.
Burke had a sizzling start to his Knicks career, including a 42-point game against the Charlotte Hornets. Burke has had a rough start to the 2018-19 season after suffering strings of DNPs and a mild MCL sprain. Despite the minor setbacks, his stint in the G-League will forever ingrain the work ethic needed to earn minutes in the NBA.
Knicks Film School Historian, amongst other things