On This Date: Knicks fire Don Chaney

January 14, 2004:  The Don Chaney era ends

The Don Chaney era came to an end on this date as Isiah Thomas fired him shortly before their impending game against the Orlando Magic. After going through a morning shootaround, Chaney and assistant coaches Brendan Malone & Lon Kruger received notice that they were relieved of their duties.

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On This Date: Knicks acquire Stephon Marbury, and eleven years later, trade away JR Smith

January 5, 2004: The New York Knicks acquire Stephon Marbury

In the first major transaction of the Isiah Thomas era, the Knicks acquired Stephon Marbury in a blockbuster trade with the Phoenix Suns. The trade included the following players/picks:

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On This Date: Dikembe Mutombo sets Knick record with 10 blocks in a game

January 4, 2004: Dikembe Mutombo set a Knicks record with 10 blocks in a game.

In Dikembe Mutombo’s one-year stint with the Knicks, he miraculously set a franchise record with 10 blocks in a game. He achieved the feat in a 95-85 loss against the New Jersey Nets. He blocked 10 shots in 42 minutes, an impressive mark at 37 years of age.

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On This Date: Knicks acquire Moochie Norris

December 30, 2003: Knicks acquire Moochie Norris in a trade with the Houston Rockets

New GM Isiah Thomas made his first trade with the Knicks by acquiring Moochie Norris & John Amaechi for Clarence Weatherspoon. Originally a 2nd round draft pick in the 1996 NBA Draft, Norris spent most of his career as a backup point guard with various teams in the NBA and the Continental Basketball Association. He spent the previous 3+ seasons with the Houston Rockets backing up Steve Francis.

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On This Date: Knicks waive Slavko Vranes

December 24, 2003: The New York Knicks waived Slavko Vranes

In Isiah Thomas’ first official move as Knicks GM, he waived Slavko Vranes, picked 39th in the 2003 NBA Draft. Vranes never played a game with the Knicks despite suiting up in Summer League and preseason. Right patella tendinitis sidelined Vranes since opening day. At the time, Isiah desired players who could immediately contribute to the team and not long-range projects.

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On This Date: Latrell Sprewell returns to MSG to taunt James Dolan and Micheal Ray Richardson records a franchise record with 9 steals in a game

Decenber 23, 2003: Latrell Sprewell returns to Madison Square Garden to taunt James Dolan

Latrell Sprewell returned to Madison Square Garden as a member of the Minnesota Timberwolves and got the last laugh in a 98-92 victory against the Knicks. Spree scored 31 points and combined for 84 points with Kevin Garnett & Sam Cassell1 in the victory.  

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On This Date: Knicks fire Scott Layden and hire Isiah Thomas

December 22, 2003: Knicks fire Scott Layden and hire Isiah Thomas

The Scott Layden era finally came to an end on this date in Knicks history. In Layden’s 4.5 years with the organization, the Knicks went 175-181, but had a decreasing record each season and missed the playoffs in the previous two seasons to his firing. 

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On This Date: Allan Houston passes Richie Guerin to become the 5th leading scorer in team history

December 14, 2003: Allan Houston passes Richie Guerin to be 5th all-time on the Knicks scoring list

Allan Houston passed Richie Guerin to become 5th on the Knicks all-time scoring list (10,392 points). Houston scored 39 points on 12-19 from the field and 12-12 from the free throw line to lead the Knicks to a 89-87 victory against the Washington Wizards in MSG. He hit the go-ahead basket with 18 seconds left. Continue reading →

On This Date: Antonio McDyess makes his Knicks regular season debut and Stephon Marbury is banished from team

December 1, 2003: Antonio McDyess makes his Knicks regular season debut against the Detroit Pistons

Antonio McDyess finally made his Knicks regular season debut in a 79-78 overtime loss against the Detroit Pistons. McDyess was on a minutes restriction and only played 13 minutes. He had a meager statline of 2 points, 3 rebounds, 1 steal, and 1 block. Continue reading →

On This Date: Knicks acquire Tim Thomas

February 15th 2004: Knicks acquire Tim Thomas & Nazr Mohammed 

Isiah Thomas decided to make some noise during All Star Weekend, despite having no All Stars, by acquiring Tim Thomas and Nazr Mohammed in a three-way trade with the Milwaukee Bucks and Atlanta Hawks. The Knicks sent Keith Van Horn to the Milwaukee Bucks and Michael Doleac and a 2005 2nd round pick (Ronny Turiaf) to the Hawks. The deal was one of the final steps in unwinding the Scott Layden era.

Isiah Thomas publicly admitted in looking for players who were young, athletic, and exciting for fans. Thomas, then 26, originally hailed from Paterson, NJ and was an athletic wing that Isiah believed could blossom in New York. Mohammed, then 26, was more of an offensive threat that could complement Dikembe Mutombo in the center rotation.

Keith Van Horn never fully meshed during his short tenure in New York. Additionally, he had a long brewing feud with Stephon Marbury dating back to their days with the New Jersey Nets. Michael Doleac was just an adequate backup center during his 1+ years with the team.

Unfortunately, neither player had a long future with the team. Tim Thomas’ two years with the Knicks were largely forgettable outside of the “fugazy” moment during the 2004 NBA Playoffs against Kenyon Martin and a slick pass he received from Stephon Marbury:

Thomas was later dealt to the Bulls in the Eddy Curry trade and re-acquired for a short period in the 2008-09 season.

Nazr Mohammed was a serviceable starting center for the team before being dealt to the San Antonio Spurs for Malik Rose and two 1st round picks that turned out to become David Lee and Mardy Collins. Ironically, Mardy Collins was dealt in the 2008-09 season in the deal to re-acquire Tim Thomas.