May 30th 1975: The New York Knicks ALMOST signed ABA Star George McGinnis, until the NBA intervened
In one of the strangest moments in Knicks Free Agency history, the New York Knicks tried to sign ABA Star George McGinnis to a 6 year/$3.1M offer sheet. McGinnis was the consensus star, alongside Julius Erving, of the American Basketball Association (ABA) and played for the Indiana Pacers. He led the league in scoring in the previous season and was an integral piece to the Pacers’ championship trophies in 1972 & 1973.
However, the Philadelphia 76ers drafted McGinnis in 1973. He remained in the ABA while the 76ers retained his draft rights. After the 1973-74 season, McGinnis attempted to play in the NBA, but only for the New York Knicks. The 76ers gave the Knicks 30 days to convince him to sign with the team. However, McGinnis decided to return to Indianapolis.
Fast forward one season and McGinnis showed interest in returning to the NBA. However, the 76ers were less inclined to allow McGinnis to sign with the Knicks. Despite the warnings, the Knicks offered him a 6 year/$3.1M deal. Iry Kozloff, then owner of the 76ers, accused the Knicks of violating the NBA constitution and demanded that the league rescind the contract.
Then-new commissioner Larry O’Brien reviewed the 76ers case and ruled the contract invalid. Additionally, the Knicks forfeited their 1976 1st round pick and had to pay the 76ers legal fees as part of the punishment.
This was one of the earliest cases of tampering in the NBA, but was probably known as one of the strangest moments in Knicks history.
Knicks Film School Historian, amongst other things