On This Date: The Knicks trade Patrick Ewing

September 20th 2000: The New York Knicks trade Patrick Ewing

In what seemed like a long time coming, the New York Knicks finalized a four-team trade that dealt their franchise player Patrick Ewing to the Seattle Supersonics.  The full trade details are shown below:

The New York Knicks trade:

Patrick Ewing, Chris Dudley, 2001 1st Round Pick

The New York Knicks acquire:

Lazaro Borrell, Travis Knight, Luc Longley, Vernon Maxwell, Glen Rice, Vladimir Stepania, 2001 1st Round Pick via the Los Angeles Lakers, two 2001 2nd Round Picks via the Seattle Supersonics, 2002 1st Round Pick via the Supersonics

The Phoenix Suns trade:

Luc Longley

The Phoenix Suns acquire:

Chris Dudley, 2001 1st Round Pick via the New York Knicks

The Los Angeles Lakers trade:

Travis Knight, Glen Rice, 2001 1st Round Pick

The Los Angeles Lakers acquire:

Emanuel Davis, Greg Foster, Horace Grant, Chuck Person

The Seattle Supersonics trade:

Lazaro Borrell, Emanuel Davis, Greg Foster, Horace Grant, Vernon Maxwell, Chuck Person, Vladimir Stepania, two 2001 2nd Round Picks, 2002 1st Round Pick

The Seattle Supersonics acquire:

Patrick Ewing

 

The Ewing trade was in the works for most of the offseason. Ewing requested a trade after not receiving a two-year extension he requested early in the offseason. He was also uncomfortable being a supporting player at the age of 38 and felt the toll of acrimonious relationships between the team, fans, and media after not being able to lead the Knicks to an NBA championship. The divorce seemed inevitable after the 1999-00 season ended. The team almost felt hampered by Ewing’s presence on the floor both offensively and defensively. The team played much faster, and even better, without him on the floor.

For most of August that year, the Knicks worked the phone lines to formulate a trade. The original trade that almost went through involved the Detroit Pistons and would have resulted in the Knicks acquiring both Glen Rice & Vin Baker. However, the Pistons got cold feet and the Knicks tried to find another team to finish the deal. That team eventually became the Phoenix Suns.

As we all know now, the Ewing trade didn’t help any of the parties involved. Ewing never received his contract extension or played any meaningful playoff minutes in his final two seasons with the Sonics & Magic.

The Knicks perhaps wished they acquired Baker. Glen Rice never seemed to fit in New York and was dealt in the subsequent offseason. Luc Longley only played 25 games in New York before retiring due to a degenerative condition in his left ankle. Of the remaining potpourri of players acquired in the trade, only Travis Knight remained on the team past the 2000-01 season. He played minimal minutes in New York through the 2002-03 season before retiring from the NBA. The remaining players were waived shortly before the beginning of the 2000-01 season.

To add insult to injury, the Knicks did not capitalize on any of the draft picks acquired. The Knicks dealt both of their 1st round picks in separate deals to acquire Othella Harrington & Mark Jackson. Additionally, none of the 2nd round picks played in the NBA.

In hindsight, Ewing admitted he should not have requested a trade. He was better off finishing his career in NY after the 2000-01 season. Instead of acquiring albatross contracts, the Knicks could have let Ewing’s $18 million salary expire and acquire more premier free agents in the 2001 off-season. Perhaps the team would not have fallen in a cycle of failure and mediocrity

 

On This Date: Larry Johnson scores 25 to help tie the 2000 ECF 2-2

May 29th 2000: Larry Johnson leads the Knicks with 25 points to tie the series between the New York Knicks & Indiana Pacers

With Patrick Ewing sidelined due to a sprained right foot and Latrell Sprewell & Marcus Camby hobbled with a bad foot and knee respectively, Larry Johnson took the initiative to lead the New York Knicks past the Indiana Pacers 91-89 to tie the series 2-2. LJ scored 25 points and hit a couple clutch three pointers to give the Knicks a cushion after the Pacers cut a 17 point halftime deficit down to 1 with 6 minutes remaining in the 4th quarter. LJ hit all 5 of his three point attempts and played 44 minutes overall.

The Knicks also received positive contributions from Charlie Ward & Kurt Thomas. Ward scores 16 points on 4-6 from three and had 7 assists, 6 rebounds, and 3 steals. Ward was the key playmaker for the Knicks in transition and within the halfcourt offense, especially finding LJ for looks. Thomas scored 16 points off the bench and had 6 rebounds and 4 assists in 35 minutes. Chris Dudley started in Ewing’s absence, but only played 8 minutes due to Kurt’s productivity.

Latrell Sprewell & Marcus Camby were both hobbled throughout the game due to injuries. Spree fractured his 5th metatarsal in his left foot near the end of Game 3, but played nearly the entire game and scored 12 points despite being hurt. Camby also went down with a knee sprain in Game 3, but returned to secure 8 rebounds and 3 blocks in 18 minutes off the bench.

On This Date: Chris Dudley throws a basketball at Shaq

March 28th 1999: Chris Dudley throws a basketball at Shaq

In a generally frustrating, nationally televised 99-91 loss against the trio of Kobe Bryant, Glen Rice, and Shaquille O’Neal, Chris Dudley had one of his most memorable moments as a Knick. Shaq gave Dudley many problems on the defensive end. During one stretch, Shaq received the ball in the post and easily dunked over Dudley. After the dunk, Shaq inadvertently pushed Dudley to the floor. Dudley immediately threw the ball, like a quarterback, at Shaq’s back and was immediately ejected from the game. In a truly Shaqtian manner, he didn’t realize Dudley hit him and laughed off the moment.

The game was a bit chippy earlier in the game. Kurt Thomas was ejected after tussling with Dennis Rodman attempting to box out for a rebound, as shown below:

For some reason, Kurt decided to push Rodman to the floor and ripped his jersey in the process. In typical Rodman fashion1, he walked away knowing that he just ejected another player.

Fortunately this was not the only fight between both teams as Chris Childs would show Kobe Bryant the art of the jabs next season.

On This Date: Terry Cummings scores 18 to help the Knicks defeat the Bucks

February 26th 1998: Terry Cummings scores 18 to lead the Knicks to victory

With a myriad of injuries in the frontcourt, the Knicks relied on newly acquired Terry Cummings to help propel the Knicks to a 102-90 victory against the Milwaukee Bucks. Cummings came off the bench to score 18 points in 22 minutes.

The Knicks acquired Cummings, the 1983 NBA Rookie of the Year, from the Philadelphia 76ers for Ron Grandison & Herb Williams.2 Neither player played meaningful minutes for the Knicks before the trade.

With Patrick Ewing sidelined with a broken wrist, the Knicks relied on a diverse group of players to fill his minutes. Chris Dudley was the only traditional center on the roster that received a bulk of the starts. In the instance the team played small, the then-38 year old Buck Williams and Chris Mills received a chunk of minutes.

With Buck Williams sidelined until April due to arthroscopic knee injury, the Knicks acquired Cummings to reinforce the frontcourt depth. While a devastating knee injury zapped Cummings of most of his athleticism and scoring prowess, he could still be relied on for playing adequate defense and making the mid-range jump shot. At 37 years old, he was also another elder statesman in the Knick frontcourt.

After the Indiana Pacers exposed the Knicks’ overall age in the 1998 NBA Playoffs, the team shipping Cummings, along with John Starks and Chris Mills, to the Warriors shortly before the 1998-99 season for Latrell Sprewell.