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:
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:
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
Knicks Film School Historian, amongst other things