February 21st 1990: Knicks trade Rod Strickland for Mo Cheeks
Weeks after sophomore PG, and NY native, Rod Strickland demanded a trade due to lack of playing time, the Knicks obliged and dealt him to the San Antonio Spurs for Mo Cheeks.
The NY tandem of Mark Jackson and Hot Rod did not have a long lifespan. Despite playing well in his rookie season under Rick Pitino, the slow-paced offense run under Stu Jackson wasn’t conducive for a two-PG tandem that were both talented and hungry for minutes. Additionally, Coach Jackson often benched Hot Rod due to his lack of defense.
The trade ended up being a short-term win for the Knicks. Cheeks brought a steady veteran presence to a Knicks squad that reached the playoffs in his 2 seasons with the team. He took over the starting PG duties in the 1990-91 season after then-interim coach John MacLeod benched Jackson after a heated argument alongside GM Al Bianchi. The Knicks traded Cheeks shortly before the 1991-92 season for a 1st round pick that eventually became Charlie Ward.
Meanwhile, Rod Strickland became an above-average starting PG for the Spurs, Blazers, and Washington Wizards, amongst other teams. While the Knicks and Hot Rod could have been a perfect match for the team, the presence of Mark Jackson made the marriage unsalvageable.
Knicks Film School Historian, amongst other things