On This Date: Knicks trade Mo Cheeks to the Hawks

October 3rd 1991: The New York Knicks trade Maurice Cheeks to the Atlanta Hawks

With an impending roster glut at the point guard, the New York Knicks traded veteran point guard Maurice “Mo” Cheeks to the Atlanta Hawks for Tim McCormick and a 1994 1st round pick.

The Knicks originally acquired Cheeks midway during the 1989-90 season after Rod Strickland demanded a trade due to a lack of minutes. Cheeks served as a stabilizing vet at point guard and even took over the starting role from Mark Jackson after the latter struggled with poor conditioning and defense.

During Cheeks’ 1.5 years with the Knicks, he helped lead the team to the playoffs. However, after a 39-43 record during the 1990-91 season, the Knicks went through a significant overhaul. The team hired Dave Checketts as the new president of basketball operations. Checketts hired Pat Riley as the new head coach and drafted Greg Anthony in the 1991 NBA Draft.

Riley decided to take a chance on a younger point guard do in Anthony and Jackson. Subsequently, Checketts decided to part with Cheeks, then much older at 34 years old. Concurrently, the Knicks had a need to fill at the backup center position due to the departure of Eddie Lee Wilkins in free agency.

Jackson only remained for one more season with the Knicks before being dealt before the 1992-93 season. Anthony remained a pivotal point guard during the Riley era. McCormick only played 22 games with the Knicks before retiring after the season. Cheeks played two more seasons in the NBA before retiring in 1993.

One of the lasting legacies of the trade was the 1994 1st round pick. That pick turned into Charlie Ward. Ironically, Ward’s presence as a rookie led the Knicks to unprotect Anthony in the 1995 Expansion Draft. The then-Vancouver Grizzlies selected Anthony in the expansion draft.

Ward, to date, remains the last Knick rookie to sign a second long-term contract with the Knicks.

 

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