January 17, 2013: The New York Knicks defeat the Detroit Pistons in London
Beginning in the 2010-11 season, the NBA expanded their horizons by playing regular season games overseas. While this was not their first experiment in doing so – the NBA held a couple games in Japan during the 1990s – it became more of a tradition beginning this season. The games would be brand as either the “NBA China Games,” “NBA Japan Games,” or “NBA London Games.”
October 9th 2003: The New York Knicks sign Dikembe Mutombo
In desperate need for a big man, the New York Knicks signed free agent Dikembe Mutombo, and his iconic finger wag, to a 2 year contract. Mutombo, then 37, still proved to be a shot blocker that the Knicks lacked for more than 2 seasons. Additionally, Mutombo was one of the taller Knicks on a roster that often featured big men shorter than 6’10.
Mutombo played in 65 games for the Knicks and averaged 1.9 blocks/game. His 123 blocked shots were the most in a season since Marcus Camby in 2001 and wasn’t surpassed until Amare Stoudemire in 2011 (150 blocked shots). He blocked 10 shots in a game against the New Jersey Nets in January 2004, a team record that still stands to this date.
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.1Yes, Amare only averaged 8.7 points/game in the 3 games he played during the 2005-06 season, but I am not counting that year!
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.
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.
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.
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.