August 7th 2006: The New York Knicks sign Jared Jeffries
The Knicks signed Jared Jeffries to the mid-level exception of 5 years and $30 million. While Isiah Thomas clearly overpaid for Jeffries, he attempted to bring in a defensive and versatile presence to a roster that not only didn’t defend and was often one dimensional on both ends of the floor.
Jeffries’ impact was often beyond the stat sheet. This included properly setting screens, switching on defense, and taking charges. However, that impact was not characterized in stats and thus many often ignored it and focused on his lack of scoring and rebounding for a big man. Losing the number of games the Knicks did certainly didn’t help. He was often the joke amongst Knicks fans for his hilarious attempts at scoring the ball on offense.
A left wrist fracture delayed Jeffries’ start to his Knicks tenure. However, he made an impact early on after his return, most notably during the Nuggets/Knicks brawl where he choked future teammate Carmelo Anthony and almost went to punch him after Melo sucker punched Collins. For that effort, the NBA suspended Jeffries 4 games.
Coach Mike D’Antoni attempted to maximize Jeffries’ versatility in his high paced system. He was often utilized in a positionless scheme the same way D’Antoni took advantage of players such as Boris Diaw. He guarded anyone from big men to point guards and was the ultimate hustle player. Unfortunately, the Knicks quest for stardom during the 2010 NBA Free Agency meant sacrificing Jeffries during the 2010 trade deadline.
However, the Knicks didn’t forget about Jeffries’ impact on the team. After the Carmelo Anthony trade, Jeffries returned to the Knicks as a free agent on a minimum contract. Without the burden of his big contract, Jeffries continued to do what he did best: hustle, work hard, and do the dirty work. He experienced the playoffs with the Knicks that season.
Jeffries spent one more year with the Knicks and retired after the 2012-13 season.