On This Date: Happy Birthday to some of our fellow former Knicks

July 31st: Happy Birthday to our fellow former Knicks

Henry Akin was born on July 31st 1944. He played one season with the New York Knicks and averaged 3.8 points/game in 50 games. He subsequently was an inaugural member of the Seattle Supersonics franchise in the 1967-68 season. His most memorable moment as a Knick was making his first two buckets over Wilt Chamberlain in his first ever NBA game.

Kostas Papanikolaou was born on July 31st 1990. He was drafted in the 2nd round by the Knicks in the 2012 NBA Draft. However, his draft rights went to the Portland Trailblazers in a trade that netted Raymond Felton. He spent parts of 2 seasons with the Houston Rockets and Denver Nuggets.

Scott Brooks was born on July 31st 1965. After winning 2 championships with the Houston Rockets, Brooks joined the Knicks for the 1996-97 season. He spent most of the time on the bench and almost got cut when Walt “Clyde” Frazier considered a return to the franchise.1

On This Date: The New York Knicks sign Anthony Mason

July 30th 1991: The New York Knicks sign Anthony Mason

In a somewhat unheralded move at the time, the New York Knicks officially signed Anthony Mason to an NBA contract. Mason, later known simply as the original “Mase,” spent the summer of 1991 on the Knicks summer league roster. A native of Queens, Mase spent his first few post-collegiate years overseas in Turkey and Venezuela. In between those stints, he spent parts of 2 seasons with the Denver Nuggets, New Jersey Nets, and the Tulsa Fast Breakers of the Continental Basketball Association.

Before joining the Knicks, Mase was heralded for his talents in the frontcourt combined with a deft passing ability unseen in many big men. New Knicks coach Pat Riley inserted Mase into the 2nd unit where he helped cement the Knicks already strong frontcourt presence. His combination of toughness on both ends of the floor helped the Knicks reach the playoffs, including a finals run in 1994.

After Riley left, coach Don Nelson inserted Mase into the starting lineup. As a starter, Mase averaged career highs in all categories, with 14.6 points/game, 9.3 rebounds/game, and 4.4 assists/game. The latter showcased Mase’s skills as a point forward. It was a role that eventually became a part of the positionless basketball, highlighted by Draymond Green amongst others. Unfortunately, differences in coaching philosophies cut Nelson’s tenure short after less than 1 season with the Knicks.

After the 1996 season, a combination of off-court issues and a quest for more offensive firepower led the Knicks to trade Mase to the Charlotte Hornets for Larry Johnson. Mase harbored tensions towards the Knicks organization due to the trade. Mase displayed his point forward skills during his tenure with the Hornets and also earned an All-Star berth in 2001 with the Miami Heat after reuniting with Riley.

Mase eventually reconciled with the Knicks and was often seen courtside at games or chatting with several of the Knicks players during the years. Sadly, Mase passed away in 2015 due to congestive heart failure at the age of 48.

On This Date: Sonny Hertzberg’s Birthday

July 29th 1922: Sonny Hertzberg was born

Sidney “Sonny” Hertzberg was born on this date in 1922. A Brookyln native, Hertzberg played college basketball with future Knick coach Red Holzman at the City College of New York. Sonny was part of the inaugural Knicks team in the 1946-47 season. He was the team captain and leading scorer with 8.7 points/game.

Sonny later joined the Washington Capitols, playing for future Celtics legend Red Auerbach. Similaryl, Hertzberg joined the Celtics and later retired in 1953.

After his basketball career, Sonny returned to the Knicks to become a scout and assistant coach. He spent 2 seasons on WPIX announcing Knicks games as a color commentator.

After his short broadcasting stint, Sonny pivoted into investment management. He rose up to the managing director title of the now defunct Bear Stearns. He retired from his position in 2003 before passing away in 2005 due to heart failure.

On This Date: Bill Bradley’s Birthday

July 28th 1943: Bill Bradley was born

New York Knicks great Bill Bradley was born on July 28th 1943. After a touted collegiate career at Princeton, Bradley spent 6 months in the Air Force before joining the New York Knicks. Bradley spent his entire NBA career with the Knicks and won 2 championships along the way. The Knicks eventually retired his number.

After retirement, Bradley embarked on a successful political career. He spent 18 years in the US Senate representing the state of New Jersey.

On This Date: Knicks hire Larry Brown

July 27th 2005: The New York Knicks hire Larry Brown

In one of the more surprising, yet unsurprising heists in team history, the New York Knicks hired Larry Brown as the next head coach. Brown took the Detroit Pistons to two straight NBA Finals, winning a championship in 2004. Brown always dreamed to coach the Knicks and was allegedly lobbying for the position during the NBA Finals. Coming off a 33-49 season, Isiah Thomas and the Knicks management made a bold splash in offering Brown a 5 year contract worth $50 million.

The marriage was doomed from the start. Expectations to make the playoffs shattered early in the season. Brown publicly complained about his roster and retaliated with his multitude of starting lineups. The tensions between Brown, the players, and the front office became public very early. Brown simply sabotaged the season.

While many Larry Brown teams bottom out in their first season together, the Knicks presented a different scenario. Not only did the team bottom out, but did so in a way that simply embarrassed the franchise, fans, and the league. The Knicks bottomed out in a season where they did not have their own lottery pick. The season was an abject disaster.

Due to the nightmare of a season, the Knicks fired Brown after only one season. Brown filed a grievance against the Knicks, but ultimately settled for $28.5 million of the $50 million owed to him in total. To be quite honest, he did not deserve one penny more than the $10 million he earned during his lone season.

On This Date: Amare Stoudemire retires as a Knick

July 26th 2016: Amare Stoudemire retires a New York Knick

Amare Stoudemire officially signed a one-day contract with the New York Knicks to announce his retirement from the NBA. The Knicks originally signed Amare to a 5 year contract worth $100 million in 2010. He was the first superstar to join the Knicks in free agency ever.

Amare had a near-MVP start to his Knicks career. The acquisition of Carmelo Anthony mid-season allowed the Knicks to make the playoffs for the first time since 2004. However, injuries prevented the Knicks from realizing Amare’s true potential.

A nagging back injury limited Amare’s explosiveness during the lockout season. Despite making the playoffs once again, Stoudemire started showing signs of decline as a player. Knee injuries limited Stoudemire to 29 games during the 54 win campaign.

Stat returned to play 65 games during the 2013-14 season. While he showed some signs of his old self, he largely accepted a supporting role on the team, including coming off the bench. He averaged a career low 11.9 points/game.2

The 2014-15 season was a disaster for the Knicks. The team decided to buyout the remainder of Amare’s contract to allow him to join a playoff contender. He joined the Mavericks for the remainder of the season. His final season, 2015-16, came with Dwyane Wade and the Miami Heat.

On This Date: Knicks sign Ronnie Brewer

July 25th 2012: The New York Knicks sign Ronnie Brewer

The New York Knicks continued to add more defensive oriented pieces to the roster by signing Ronnie Brewer to a contract. Brewer played the previous 2 seasons with the Chicago Bulls and was part of coach Tom Thibodeau’s bench mob. At 6’7 with a long wingspan, the Knicks expected Brewer to provide a defensive identity off the bench.

Brewer started the season as the team’s starting small forward due to Amare Stoudemire’s knee injury. Ultimately, Iman Shumpert’s return from a torn ACL pushed Brewer out of the rotation. As the Knicks sought to shore up their frontcourt depth, the team traded Brewer mid-season to the Oklahoma City Thunder for a future 2nd round pick. The team used the spot to sign Kenyon Martin.

On This Date: Knicks sign Pablo Prigioni

July 24th 2012: The New York Knicks sign Pablo Prigioni

In one of Kevin Wilson’s more successful international discoveries, the New York Knicks signed Argentinian point guard Pablo Prigioni to a contract. After starting his professional basketball career in Argentina, Prigioni spent more than a decade playing in Spain. More notably, he was the point guard on the Argentinian basketball, playing alongside the legend Manu Ginobili.

Prigioni’s veteran savviness was a major benefit to the Knick roster that eventually reached the Eastern Conference Semifinals for the first time since 2000. He was an unselfish player, often very reluctant to shoot a wide open shot to instead find a wide open player for an alley oop, breakaway dunk, or three point shot. When he did shoot the ball, he was quite proficient from 3. Knicks fans loved him more for being a pest on defense. He simply pickpocketed point guards when they least expected it. He was the master of stealing inbound passes.

The Knicks rewarded his savviness with a 3 year extension after the season. He played 1.5 more years with the Knicks before joining the Houston Rockets midway through the 2014-15 season. He finished his NBA career with the Los Angeles Clippers before returning to Baskonia to become a player/coach.

Prigioni is now an assistant coach for the Minnesota Timberwolves.

On This Date: Knicks trade Sprewell for Van Horn

July 23rd 2003: The New York Knicks trade Latrell Sprewell for Keith Van Horn

After many months of speculation, the New York Knicks officially traded Latrell Sprewell in a four-team deal for Keith Van Horn. The 76ers traded Van Horn to the Knicks and received Glenn Robinson from the Atlanta Hawks. The Minnesota Timberwolves traded Terrell Brandon to the Hawks and acquired Spree in return.

Spree got on the bad side of James Dolan & Scott Layden during the end of his Knicks tenure. He infamously missed several media training sessions. Spree often angered coaches by arriving late to team shootarounds. The final straw came during the beginning of the 2002-03 training camp when Spree showed up with a broken hand due to a boating accident. The injury forced Spree to miss the first 8 games of the regular season. Spree averaged many career lows during the 2002-03 season. The Knicks’ pursuit for high character players led to Spree’s departure.

Ironically, Van Horn spent the preceding year with the Philadelphia 76ers. The 76ers originally drafted him, but traded him to the Nets in a draft-day deal for Tim Thomas. Van Horn had a relatively efficient year in his lone season with the 76ers even when averaging around 16 points/game. He spent most of his time playing power forward. The trade shifted him back to his natural position at small forward.

The biggest questions surrounding Van Horn related to his perceived softness and ability to handle the pressures of New York. While he had a productive half-season with the Knicks, he wasn’t truly able to answer both questions. New GM Isiah Thomas traded Van Horn to Milwaukee for Tim Thomas & Nazr Mohammed.

Spree instantly fit into a stacked Timberwolves roster featuring Kevin Garnett & Sam Cassell. Spree played all 82 games and averaged 17 points/game. He felt a major rejuvenation as he helped lead the Timberwolves to the Western Conference Finals. The WCF berth led Garnett to his first MVP award. Unfortunately, injuries in their backcourt to Cassell & Troy Hudson led to their defeat to the Los Angeles Lakers in 6.

Spree played 1 more season with the Timberwolves. Shortly after the 2004-05 season, Spree infamously rejected a 3 year $21 million extension because “he had a family to feed.” After the season ended, no NBA team offered Spree a contract and his basketball career ended.

On This Date: Knicks extend Red Holzman’s contract

July 22nd 1972: The Knicks extend Red Holzman’s contract

Heading into the 1973 championship season, owner Ned Irish made sure Red Holzman continued to coach the Knicks. Irish signed Holzman to a 2 year extension of his original contract, which expired in 1973. Holzman continued to maintain the role of both coach and general manager. He is only one of two coaches in Knicks history that retained the role of both coach and GM (Isiah Thomas maintained both roles after Dolan fired Larry Brown in 2006). At the time, Holzman was the only coach that held both roles.

At the time, owner Ned Irish did not approve of Holzman holding both roles as coach and general manager. While some of the disagreements became public, Irish did not hesitate to extend the contract due to the team success under his tenure.

After signing the extension, the Knicks won the championship in 1973. Holzman lasted as coach until 1977 before reappearing with the Knicks after a year of hiatus. Red gave up his GM post in 1975 when Eddie Donovan rejoined the organization.

On This Date: Knicks sign Clarence Weatherspoon

July 21st 2001: The New York Knicks sign Clarence Weatherspoon

The New York Knicks officially signed Clarence Weathersppon to a 5 year contract worth $27 million. The move was made in anticipation for Larry Johnson’s eventual retirement due to his chronic back injuries. Weathersppon started all 82 games for the Cleveland Cavaliers in the previous season and averaged 11.3 points/game and 9.7 rebounds/game.

Weatherspoon provided the same rebounding tenacity he brought throughout his prime, but mostly played a nondescript role on an aging, unathletic Knicks squad that missed the playoffs for the first time in nearly 15 years. The highlight of his Knick career was during Patrick Ewing’s jersey retirement when he grabbed a career high 24 rebounds.

The Knicks dealt Weatherspoon early in the 2003-04 season to the Houston Rockets for Moochie Norris.

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.