On This Date: Knicks fire Stu Jackson

December 3, 1990: Knicks fire Stu Jackson and hire John Macleod as head coach

The Knicks fired Stu Jackson and hired John MacLeod to take over as head coach. Jackson was an assistant on Rick Pitino’s staff dating back to his days coaching the Providence men’s basketball team. Once Pitino left the Knicks for the University of Kentucky, the Knicks hired Stu Jackson as head coach, marking him the third youngest coach in Knicks history, at the time.1 Continue reading →

Former Knicks GM Al Bianchi passes away at the age of 87

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Former Knicks GM Al Bianchi passed away from natural causes today at the age of 87. He served as the team’s general manage from 1987-1991 and oversaw playoff teams during his entire tenure.

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On This Date: Knicks fire Al Bianchi and hire Dave Checketts

March 2nd 1991: Knicks fire Al Bianchi and hire Dave Checketts

In one of the most pivotal moves for the organization heading into the 1990s, the Knicks fired General Manager Al Bianchi and hired Dave Checketts as President of Basketball Operations. The firing was part of an overall organizational change within Madison Square Garden, the Knicks, and the New York Rangers.

Bianchi fell out of favor with Rick Pitino that led to the latter’s departure from the team to coach in the NCAA. Bianchi sparred with both Rod Strickland and Mark Jackson during his tenure. Strickland eventually requested and received a trade. He additionally declined to match Johnny Newman’s offer sheet from the Charlotte Hornets. Furthermore, Patrick Ewing was nearing free agency and reportedly was looking to sign elsewhere.

Checketts, then 35, initially began his NBA career as the youngest GM of the Utah Jazz at 28 years old. He spent several years with the Jazz and worked within the league offices before joining the Knicks. He became a pivotal executive in the organization tasked to maximize Patrick Ewing’s prime. One of Checkett’s first moves was hiring Pat Riley to replace John Macleod after the 1990-91 season. He later hired Ernie Grunfeld as his GM and helped oversee an organization that made the playoffs every year in the 1990s and reached the NBA finals twice.

Checketts eventually became president of Madison Square Garden in 1997 through 2001, shortly after James Dolan gained control of the organization.