August 29th 2008: The Frederic Weis era officially ends
Frederic Weis officially ended his Knicks career, or lack there-of, on this date when GM Donnie Walsh traded his draft rights to the Houston Rockets for Patrick Ewing Jr.
Weis only suited up for a few summer league games after he was drafted 15th overall in the 1999 NBA Draft. He was chosen above NY’s own Ron Artest (now Metta World Peace) and several other players who made more immediate impacts in the league. Artest infamously got drunk the night before his scheduled workout with the Knicks, which is why the team did not draft him. However, the Knicks saw Weis as a potential frontcourt piece.
Unfortunately, while then-interim GM Ed Tapscott drafted Weis, he didn’t seek the input of his coach, Jeff Van Gundy. Van Gundy had no interest in ever developing Weis. Weis felt intimidated by the NBA the moment he stepped foot in Summer League. He never stepped foot on an American basketball court.
Of course, we can’t forget the moment when Vince Carter dunked over him in the 2000 Olympics. The culmination of all these factors led to a downward spiral in Weis’ personal life.
This trade ended up being more of a symbol than anything. In Ewing Jr., the Knicks brought back the Big Fella’s son for a handful of preseason games. Due to roster constraints, the Knicks cut him before the 2008-09 season. He jumped around between the then-Knicks G-League affiliate (Reno Bighorns) and several other teams in the G-League before embarking on a short career overseas.
June 30th 1999: The New York Knicks draft Frederic Weis
The New York Knicks did the unthinkable on this date and drafted Frederic Weis with the 15th overall pick. Players such as Ron Artest, James Posey, or even anyone else were still on the draft board. The pick made absolutely no sense to anyone but the INTERIM General Manager Ed Tapscott.
Tapscott believed the team needed to draft Patrick Ewing’s replacement. In doing so, he reached for Weis instead of taking a more impactful player in Artest or anyone else. Matter of fact, the Knicks could have drafted Jeff Foster and got a solid center in their rotation.
Instead, the Knicks chose Weis. Weis participated in Summer League, but went back to Europe after Jeff Van Gundy was very iffy on his prospects to play in the NBA. Weis re-appeared on the main scene in the 2000 Olympics where Vince Carter performed the “Dunk of Death” over his poor soul. Ultimately, Weis never recovered from that moment.
A combination of the factors above led to a serious bout of alcoholism and depression. It’s a generally sad tale of a foreign prospect who couldn’t live up to his expectations. As of 2015, Weis owned a tobacco store near his home in France.
As for Artest, his new Showtime documentary “Quiet Storm” perfectly explained why he wasn’t a Knick. According to Artest, he skipped a pre-draft workout with the Knicks after getting too drunk the night before. As another maligned former NY Knick and native New Yorker once put it, Artest was the original definition of being “too lit for NY.”