August 15th 2005: The New York Knicks use their Amnesty Provision on Jerome Williams
As part of the 2005 NBA Collective Bargaining Agreement, the NBA agreed to include an Amnesty Provision to rid teams of one of their biggest contract regrets. This rule was colloquially known as the Allan Houston Rule due to the $100 million contract the Knicks offered him. Knee injuries forced Houston to miss 94 games over the previous 2 seasons. Houston also had 2 years and $40 million remaining on his contract.
However, in somewhat typical Knicks fashion, the Knicks decided not to amnesty Houston. Instead, the Knicks amnestied Jerome “Junkyard Dog” Williams. Williams had 3 more years remaining on a 7 year $40 million deal he signed with the Toronto Raptors back in 2001. The amnesty allowed the team to save $21 million in future luxury tax payments. Williams never played another game in the NBA.
The biggest surprise was not amnestying Houston. To make things even more baffling, Houston announced his retirement shortly before the beginning of the 2005-06 season. Saving $20 million would have got the Knicks closer out of the salary cap hell that plagued the team for most of the 2000s.
August 5th 2004: The New York Knicks acquire Jamal Crawford
The New York Knicks acquired Jamal Crawford in a sign-and-trade with the Chicago Bulls. The Knicks acquired 24 year old Crawford and Jerome “Junkyard Dog” Williams from the Bulls for Dikembe Mutombo, Othella Harrington, Frank Williams, and Cezary Trybanksi. Crawford signed a 7 year $56 million deal.
Crawford quickly inserted himself as the starting shooting guard alongside Stephon Marbury. While not the most efficient scorer, Crawford was a walking bucket with a penchant to hit 3s at a very high rate and a decent passing ability for a combo guard. Under Larry Brown, Crawford reverted into a 6th man role. While not fully comfortable in the role, Crawford foreshadowed his future in the league.
Despite the turmoil within the Knicks, Crawford had several highlight moments with the team including some game-winning baskets, a highlight self-pass and dunk, and a career high 52 points against the Miami Heat.
To clear up cap space for 2010, the Knicks traded Crawford to the Golden State Warriors for Al Harrington. Crawford cemented his role as a proficient 6th man and won the award 3 times. Over his entire NBA career, Crawford has built a reputation of being a great teammate and consummate professional.