On This Date: Knicks sign Jerome James

August 2nd 2005: The New York Knicks sign Jerome James

In one of the most questionable moves of Isiah Thomas’ Knicks tenure, the New York Knicks signed Jerome James to a 5 year contract worth nearly $30 million. Isiah felt the need to offer James a contract after a solid performance in the 2005 NBA Playoffs with the Seattle Supersonics.

James was slated to split center minutes with rookie Channing Frye. However, Isiah doubled down on centers by acquiring Eddy Curry in a sign and trade that nearly crippled the franchise during the mid 2000s.

James appeared in his first Knicks training camp out of shape. Coach Larry Brown admonished him to get into playing shape and suspended him at a point for not being ready to play. Throughout the duration of his Knicks tenure, he seemed to make a lot more money than minutes played.

James played a combined 86 games during his first 2 seasons, but totaled only 679 minutes in 19 starts. He nearly made more than $17,000 per minute played during that stretch. The final 2 years were laughable as James played only 4 more games and 15 minutes in total with the Knicks while earning another $12 million in the process.

GM Donnie Walsh attempted to negotiate a buyout with James, but couldn’t come to terms to a settlement. Instead, the Knicks traded James’ contract to the Bulls to acquire Larry Hughes. James never played a game in the NBA after the trade.

Isiah Thomas later admitted in 2011 that signing James was a mistake. However, he did originally think of him as an up-and-coming center. That thought alone is inexcusable.

On This Date: Larry Hughes propels Knicks to back-to-back victories

March 11th 2009: Larry Hughes helps Knicks achieve back-to-back victories

Recently acquired Larry Hughes came through in the clutch for the Knicks on back-to-back nights in the middle of a 5 game road stretch. Hughes scored 39 points in the previous night against the Milwaukee Bucks and hit the go-ahead basket to seal the victory. On this night – against the Detroit Pistons – , Hughes drew a clutch foul against Rip Hamilton behind the 3 point arc before the end of regulation. Hughes hit all three FTs to tie the game and send it to overtime. The Knicks defeated the Pistons in overtime 116-111. Hughes scored 22 points, 4 rebounds, and 4 assists in the victory.

The Knicks acquired Hughes at the trade deadline for Tim Thomas, Anthony Roberson, and the ever disappointing Jerome James. From a cap perspective, the trade didn’t change anything other than help the team acquire a veteran guard to provide additional depth on the team. Hughes remained with the team until the 2010 Trade Deadline where Hughes was sent to the Kings in the infamous 3-team Tracy McGrady deal.

On This Date: Nate Robinson wins the 2006 NBA Slam Dunk Contest

February 18th 2006: Nate Robinson wins the 2006 NBA Slam Dunk Contest

Nate Robinson made headlines as a rookie during the 2006 All Star Weekend by winning the Slam Dunk Contest over Andre Iguodala in controversial fashion. The dunk contest featured the defending champion Josh Smith, Iggy, Hakim Warrick (of Syracuse fame), and Nate. Nate was obviously the shortest competitor in the contest since Spud Webb won in 1986.1

Iggy and Nate faced off in the finals of the dunk contest. Robinson’s first dunk in the finals was a through-the-legs windmill from an off-the-backboard pass. However, it took Nate more than 3 minutes (a ton of attempts) to actually make the dunk. He received a 44/50 on that attempt. After Iggy scored a perfect score on his first dunk, Nate Rob decided to surprise the crowd by bringing out Spud Webb and dunking over him. This dunk resulted in a perfect score. The final round ended up in a tie score that led to a dunk-off.

During the dunk-off, Nate missed his first 13 attempts and eventually received a 47/50 on the dunk. Iguodala purportedly had a better dunk, but the judges decided to give him a 46/50. As a result, Nate won the dunk contest in controversy as fans of Iguodala accused the judges of rigging the score.

In the aftermath of the dunk contest, a time limit was added so that you had to make your dunk within a certain prescribed amount of time. Despite the change, Nate participated in 3 of the next 4 contests winning both in 2009 and 2010. Just like his records in Summer League, he maintains the All-Time record for most Slam Dunk contest victories with 3.


February 18th 2010: Knicks acquire Tracy McGrady

In the path to potentially acquiring LeBron, the Knicks made another salary cap move by acquiring Tracy McGrady from the Houston Rockets in a three-way deal that sent Larry Hughes to the Sacramento Kings and Jordan Hill, Jared Jeffries, and the 2012 1st round draft pick to the Houston Rockets. In return, the Knicks also received Sergio Rodriguez from the Kings. The deal was made to clear Jared Jeffries’ contract for the Summer of 2010. In return, the Knicks had to part with both Jordan Hill, their 1st round draft pick in the 2009 NBA Draft, and a 2012 1st round pick that became Royce White.

Hill spent his NBA career as a backup big man on several teams. While the Knicks didn’t necessarily miss him, the team could have drafted other players such as Demar Derozan, Jrue Holiday, or Jeff Teague. Sadly, the team was only one pick away from drafting Stephen Curry.

T-Mac was mostly a relic of his past greatness during his short tenure with the team. Back injuries significantly diminished his potential impact on the team after the trade deadline. His athletic body was instead a lumbering 30 year old that was on his last legs in the NBA. Sergio Rodriguez had a few decent moments as a backup point guard for the team. After the season ended, he departed for Real Madrid. He spent his next 6 seasons with the team. After one year with the Philadelphia 76ers, he joined CSKA Moscow.


February 18th 1984: Bill Bradley’s number retired

The Knicks retired Bill Bradley’s number 24 on his date in a home matchup against the New Jersey Nets. By this time, Bradley was a U.S. Senator for the state of New Jersey and was running a re-election campaign. Bradley won re-election and remained Senator until retiring in 1996.

On This Date: Nate Robinson scores 41 points off the bench

January 1, 2010: Nate Robinson scores 41 points off the bench to lead the Knicks to an overtime victory against the Atlanta Hawks

In an appropriate beginning to a new year, Nate Robinson returned from a month-long exile in the doghouse to lead the Knicks to a thrilling overtime victory in Atlanta. Nate scored 41 points on 18-24 from the field and 3-5 from three. He also had 6 rebounds and 8 assists.

Despite a close first half, the Knicks well-patented 3rd quarter of doom led to a 13 point deficit. The Knicks stormed back to tie the game at the end of regulation. The Knicks scored 13 points in OT to get a much-needed victory on the road. After going on an 8-3 run to start the month of December, the team lost 3 of the last 4 games.

Coincidentally, Nate was placed into Mike D’Antoni’s doghouse beginning in December. D’Antoni lost patience with Nate over the previous several weeks beginning with an ill-fated joke to shoot at the wrong basket after the end of the 1st quarter in a road game against the New Jersey Nets:

After that play, he benched Nate for the rest of the game. Even after scoring 22 fourth quarter points in a 114-102 loss against the Magic in MSG, D’Antoni sent Nate to the bench with a DNP ironically against the Magic on the road.

Nate sat on the bench for a month until this game. Despite the victories with Nate glued to the bench, it didn’t make much sense because D’Antoni only employed 7-8 man rotations. It took injuries to both Larry Hughes and Jonathan Bender to finally get Nate back into the rotation on New Year’s day. During Nate’s absence, rookie Toney Douglas received the majority of the point guard minutes off the bench.

During his Knick tenure, Nate Robinson frustrated head coaches, alike, with his decision making on the floor. While Nate was in the doghouse, his agent Aaron Goodwin requested a trade in December 2009.2 D’Antoni quickly grew tired of Nate and was traded – along with Marcus Landry – at the deadline to the Boston Celtics for Eddie House, J.R. Giddens, & Bill Walker.