|New York Knicks|
The New York Knickerbockers, known familiarly as the Knicks, are an American professional National Basketball Association team based in New York City. The organization was a founding member of the Basketball Association of America in 1946 and would join the NBA after the BAA and National Basketball League merged.
The Knicks are one of only two teams of the original National Basketball Association still located in its original city (the other being the Boston Celtics). The "Knickerbocker" name comes from the pseudonym used by Washington Irving for his A History of New York, which name became applied to the descendants of the original Dutch settlers of what later became New York, and later, by extension, to New Yorkers in general.
Early years (1946–1967)
The first game for the Knicks and BAA was played on November 1, 1946 against the Toronto Huskies as the New York Knickerbockers at Toronto's Maple Leaf Gardens, where the Knickerbockers won 68–66. The Knicks were the first team to have a non-Caucasian player on their roster, Japanese player Wataru Misaka, who joined the team in 1947.
The Knickerbockers' first head coach was Neil Cohalan, and the team was a consistent playoff contender in their early years. During the first decade of the NBA's existence, the Knicker fan.
With no college draft in the league's initial year, there was no guarantee that the Knicks or the league itself would thrive. Consequently, teams focused on signing college players from their respective cities as a way to promote the professional league. The Knicks held their first training camp in the Catskill Mountains at the Nevele Country Club. Twenty-five players were invited to attend the three-week session. Players worked out twice a day and the chemistry between the New York natives was instant. With a roster assembled, the Knicks faced the Toronto Huskies at Toronto's Maple Leaf Gardens on November 1, 1946, in what would be the franchise's first game—as well as the first in league history. In a low-scoring affair presented in front of 7,090 spectators, the Knicks defeated the Huskies 68–66 with Leo Gottlieb leading the Knicks in scoring with 14 points. With Madison Square Garden's crowded schedule, the Knicks were forced to play many of their home games at the 69th Regiment Armory during the team's early years. The Knicks went on to finish their inaugural campaign with a 33–27 record and achieved a playoff berth under Cohalan despite a dismal shooting percentage of 28 percent. The Knicks faced the Cleveland Rebels in the quarterfinals, winning the series 2–1. However, the Knicks were swept by the Philadelphia Warriors in two games in the semifinals.
As promised, Lapchick took over in 1947, bringing with him his up-tempo coaching style, which emphasized fast ball movement. Six new players were signed, including guard Carl Braun and Japanese American guard Wataru Misaka, the first non-Caucasian professional basketball player. Under Lapchick, the Knicks made nine straight playoff appearances beginning in 1947. Braun, who averaged 14.3 points, emerged as the team's star and paired with Dick Holub and Bud Palmer to account for half of the team's offense. Despite this, the Knicks struggled throughout the year, compiling a 26–22 record. Their finish was good enough to place them second in the Eastern Division and secure a playoff match-up against the Baltimore Bullets where they lost the series two games to one. In the 1948 NBA draft, the Knicks selected two future Hall of Fame players in center Dolph Schayes and Harry Gallatin. The Knicks were leery of Schayes' talent, prompting the center to leave to play for the Syracuse Nationals of the struggling National Basketball League. Despite losing Schayes, the team started the year well going 17–8 before they fell into a slump. They ended the year with a seven-game win streak to finish with a 32–28 record and a third-straight playoff appearance. The Knicks defeated the Bullets in a rematch of their previous encounter in 1947, winning the series 2–1. The team however struggled against the Washington Capitols and lost the series 1–2.
Prior to the beginning of the 1949–50 season, the BAA merged with the National Basketball League to form the National Basketball Association with the BAA absorbing six teams from its former competitor. Despite division realignments, the Knicks remained in the Eastern Division. The team continued its dominance under Lapchick, winning 40 games; however they lost the Eastern Division finals to the Syracuse Nationals.
The following season, the Knicks made history signing Sweetwater Clifton to a contract, thus becoming the first professional basketball team to sign an African American player. During this same season, the Knicks finished with a 36–30 record. Though they placed third in their division, they secured a playoff spot and began the first of three consecutive trips to the NBA Finals. In spite of their success, the Knicks could not overcome the Rochester Royals despite a valiant comeback after losing the first three games of the Finals. The next two years, in 1952 and 1953, New York fell to the Minneapolis Lakers in the Finals.
It was during this early period, the Knicks developed their first standout players in Carl Braun who retired as the Knicks leading scorer with 10,449 points before later being surpassed by the likes of Patrick Ewing, Walt Frazier and Willis Reed. Harry Gallatin and Dick McGuire were also well-known standouts on the team and were later enshrined in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
Following these back-to-back losses, the Knicks made the playoffs in the subsequent two years with no success. Lapchick resigned as the team's head coach in January 1956 citing health-related issues. Vince Boryla made his debut in February 1956 as the Knicks' new coach in a win over the St. Louis Hawks. However, after two seasons of poor performances and no playoff appearances, Boryla tendered his resignation from the team in April 1958.
Looking to regain their former dominance, Andrew Levane was named the head coach and in his first year, the results were significantly better as the team finished with a 40–32 record, securing their playoff spot. However, the Knicks could not manage to get past the Eastern Division semi-finals. The Levane-led squad fared poorly to begin the 1959–60 season and under mounting pressure Levane resigned and was immediately replaced by Carl Braun, who became the team's first player-coach. The team did not fare much better under Braun and the Knicks hired Eddie Donovan, who helped build up St. Bonaventure's basketball team, in 1961. During Donovan's tenure, New York failed to achieve a playoff berth. As a testament to their struggles, on March 2, 1962, the Knicks faced the Philadelphia Warriors in Hershey, Pennsylvania, where they infamously allowed Wilt Chamberlain to score an NBA-record 100 points in a 169–147 Warriors victory.
In 1964, the franchise's fortunes began to take a steady turn. The Knicks drafted center Willis Reed, who made an immediate impact on the court and was named NBA Rookie of the Year for his efforts. However, the leaders of the team still remained in flux. In an attempt to reorganize, the Knicks named former standout Harry Gallatin as head coach while reassigning Donovan to general manager position. After a slow start in 1965, Dick McGuire, another former Knick, replaced his former teammate Gallatin midway through the season. Though he failed to guide the Knicks to the playoffs in 1965, he managed to do so the following season, however the Knicks lost in the Eastern Division semi-finals. McGuire was abruptly replaced midway through the 1967–68 season after the team began the season with a 15–22 record.
Championship years (1967–1975)
In 1968, right after the Knicks made it to the playoffs for the first time since 1959, the Knicks hired Red Holzman as their head coach. With Holzman at the helm, and young players such as Bill Bradley and Walt "Clyde" Frazier, the Knicks were a playoff team again in 1968. The next season, the team acquired Dave DeBusschere from the Detroit Pistons, and the team went 55–27. In the ensuing playoffs, the team made it past the first round of the playoffs for the first time since 1953, sweeping the Baltimore Bullets in three games, before falling to the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Division finals.
In the 1969–70 season, the Knicks had a then single-season NBA record 18 straight victories en route to 60–22 record, which was the best regular season record in the team's history. After defeating the Bullets in the Eastern Division semifinals and the Milwaukee Bucks in the Eastern Division finals, the Knicks faced the Los Angeles Lakers in the NBA Finals.
With the series tied at 2–2, the Knicks would be tested in Game 5. Reed tore a muscle in his right leg in the second quarter, and was lost for the rest of the game. Despite his absence, New York would go on to win the game, rallying from a 16–point deficit. Without their injured captain the Knicks would lose Game 6, setting up one of the most famous moments in NBA history. Reed limped onto the court before the 7th game, determined to play through his pain. He scored New York's first two baskets before going scoreless for the remainder of the contest. Although he was not at full strength, Reed's heroics inspired the Knicks, and they won the game by a score of 113–99, giving them their first championship. The entire starting line up for the 69–70 Knicks had their jerseys retired by the New York Knicks. The jerseys of Walt Frazier (#10), Willis Reed (#19), Dave DeBusschere (#22), Bill Bradley (#24), and Dick Barnett (#12) all hang from the rafters at Madison Square Garden. Reed's walking on to the court was voted the greatest moment in Madison Square Garden history.
The Knicks' success continued for the next few years. After losing to the Bullets in the 1971 Eastern Conference finals, the team, aided by the acquisitions of Jerry Lucas and Earl "The Pearl" Monroe, returned to the Finals in 1972. This time the Knicks fell to the Lakers in five games. The next year, the results were reversed, as the Knicks defeated the Lakers in five games to win their second NBA title in four years. The team had one more impressive season in 1973–74, as they reached the Eastern Conference finals, where they fell in five games to the Celtics. It was after this season that Reed announced his retirement, and the team's fortunes took a turn for the worse.
After the championship years (1975–1985)
In the 1974–75 season, the Knicks posted a 40–42 record, their first losing record in eight seasons. However, the record still qualified them for a playoff spot, though the Knicks lost to the Houston Rockets in the first round. After two more seasons with losing records, Holzman was replaced behind the bench by Reed. In Reed's first year coaching the team, they posted a 43–39 record and made it to the Eastern Conference semifinals, where they were swept by the Philadelphia 76ers. The next season, after the team got off to a 6–8 start, Holzman was rehired as the team's coach. The team did not fare any better that season, finishing with a 31–51 record, their worst in thirteen years.
After improving to a 39–43 record in the 1979–80 season, the Knicks posted a 50–32 record in the 1980–81 season. In the ensuing playoffs, the Chicago Bulls swept them in two games. Holzman retired the following season as one of the winningest coaches in NBA history. The team's record for that year was a dismal 33–49. However, Holzman's legacy would continue through the players he influenced. One of the Knicks' bench players and defensive specialists during the 1970s was Phil "Action" Jackson. Jackson went on to coach the Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Lakers to eleven NBA championships, surpassing Red Auerbach for the most in NBA history. Jackson has cited Red Holzman as the best coach he ever played for and a major influence on his coaching philosophy.
Hubie Brown replaced Holzman as coach of the Knicks, and in his first season, the team went 44–38 and make it to the second round of the playoffs, where they were swept by the eventual champion Philadelphia 76ers. The next season, the team, aided by new acquisition Bernard King, improved to a 47–35 record and returned to the playoffs. The team beat the Detroit Pistons in the first round with an overtime win in the fifth and deciding game, before losing in second round once again, this time in seven games to the Celtics. The team's fortunes again turned for the worse the next season, as they lost their last twelve games to finish with a 24–58 record. The first of these losses occurred on March 23, 1985, where King injured his knee and spent the next 24 months in rehabilitation. Some figured that his career would end from this injury, but he proved them wrong and resumed his career near the end of the 1986–87 season.
During the early 1980s, the Knicks drastically changed their uniforms. The home uniforms would feature the team nickname below the number and the base color was maroon instead of the traditional orange. However in the 1983-84 season they would revert back to the championship-era uniforms and the orange color, which would remain virtually unchanged for the next twelve seasons.
The Patrick Ewing era (1985–2000)
As a result of the Knicks' dismal performance in the 1984–85 season, the team was entered into the first-ever NBA Draft Lottery. The team ended up winning the number one pick in that year's NBA Draft. They selected star center Patrick Ewing of Georgetown University. In Ewing's first season with the Knicks, he led all rookies in scoring (20 points per game) and rebounds (9 rebounds per game), and he won the NBA Rookie of the Year Award. The team would not fare as well, though, as they posted a 23–59 record in his first season, and a 24–58 record in his second season.
The team's luck changed in the 1987–88 season with the hiring of Rick Pitino as head coach, and selection of point guard Mark Jackson in the draft. Combined with Ewing's consistently stellar play, the Knicks made the playoffs with a record of 38–44, where they lost to the Celtics in the first round. The team would do even better the next season as the team traded backup center Bill Cartwright for power forward Charles Oakley before the season started and then posted a 52–30 record, which was good enough for their first division title in nearly twenty years. In the playoffs, they defeated the 76ers in the first round before losing to the Chicago Bulls in the Eastern Conference semi-finals.
Before the 1989–90 season began, a couple of major changes occurred. Pitino left the Knicks to coach the University of Kentucky's basketball team and Stu Jackson was named head coach. The Knicks went 45–37 and defeated the Celtics in the first round of the playoffs, winning the final three games after losing the first two. They went on to lose to the eventual NBA champion Detroit Pistons in the next round. In the 1990–91 season, the team, which replaced Jackson with John McLeod as head coach early that season, had a 39–43 record and were swept by the eventual NBA champion Bulls.
Sensing that the team needed a better coach in order to become a championship contender, new Knicks president Dave Checketts hired Pat Riley prior to the 1991–92 season. Riley, who coached the Lakers to four NBA titles during the 1980s, taught the Knicks hard, physical defense, and immediately gave them a boost. That season, the team, which now included fan favorite John Starks, posted a 51–31 record, good enough for a first place tie in the Atlantic Division. After defeating the Pistons in the first round of the playoffs, the team battled with the Bulls for seven games, before once again letting the Bulls get the best of them.
The 1992–93 season proved to be even more successful, as the Knicks won the Atlantic Division with a 60–22 record. Before the season, the Knicks traded Mark Jackson to the Los Angeles Clippers for Charles Smith, Doc Rivers, and Bo Kimble while also acquiring Rolando Blackman from the Dallas Mavericks. The team made it to the Eastern Conference finals, where once again they met the Bulls. After taking a two games-to-none lead, the Knicks lost the next four games.
After the Bulls' Michael Jordan made what would be his first retirement from basketball prior to the 1993–94 season, many saw this as an opportunity for the Knicks to finally make it to the NBA Finals. The team, who acquired Derek Harper in a midseason trade with the Dallas Mavericks, once again won the Atlantic Division with a 57–25 record. In the playoffs, the team played a then NBA-record 25 games (the Boston Celtics played 26 games in the 2008 playoffs); they started by defeating the New Jersey Nets in the first round before finally getting past the Bulls, defeating them in the second round in seven games, thanks to NBA Official Hue Hollins calling a disputed foul against Scottie Pippen in the closing seconds of Game 5 of the series. In the Eastern Conference Finals, they faced the Indiana Pacers, who at one point held a three games-to-two lead. They had this advantage thanks to the exploits of Reggie Miller, who scored 25 fourth quarter points in Game 5 to lead the Pacers to victory. However, the Knicks won the next two games to reach their first NBA Finals since 1973.
In the finals, the Knicks would play seven low-scoring, defensive games against the Houston Rockets. After splitting the first two games in Houston, the Knicks would win two out of three games at Madison Square Garden, which also hosted the New York Rangers first Stanley Cup celebration in 54 years following their win over the Vancouver Canucks in Game 7 of their finals during the series. In Game 6, however, a last-second attempt at a game-winning shot by Starks was tipped by Rockets center Hakeem Olajuwon, giving the Rockets an 86–84 victory and forcing a Game 7. The Knicks lost Game 7 90–84, credited in large part to Starks's dismal 2-for-18 shooting performance and Riley's stubborn refusal to bench Starks, despite having bench players who were renowned for their shooting prowess, such as Rolando Blackman and Hubert Davis available. The loss denied New York the distinction of having both NBA and NHL championships in the same year. Nevertheless, the Knicks had gotten some inspiration from Mark Messier and the Rangers during the finals.
The next year, the Knicks were second place in the Atlantic Division with a 55–27 record. The team defeated the Cleveland Cavaliers before facing the Pacers again in the second round. The tone for the Knicks–Pacers series was set in Game 1, as Miller once again became a clutch nuisance to the Knicks by scoring eight points in the final 8 seconds of the game to give the Pacers a 107–105 victory. The series went to a Game 7, and when Patrick Ewing's last-second finger roll attempt to tie the game missed, the Pacers clinched the 97–95 win. Riley resigned the next day, and the Knicks hired Don Nelson as their new head coach.
However Nelson's uptempo approach clashed with the Knicks' defensive identity, and during the 1995–96 season, Nelson was fired after 59 games, and, instead of going after another well-known coach, the Knicks hired longtime assistant Jeff Van Gundy, who had no prior experience as a head coach. The Knicks ended up with a 47–35 record that year, and swept the Cavaliers in the first round of the playoffs before losing to the eventual champion Bulls (who had an NBA record 72 wins in the regular season) in five games.
In the 1996–97 season, the Knicks, with the additions of such players as Larry Johnson and Allan Houston, registered a 57–25 record. In the playoffs, the Knicks swept the Charlotte Hornets in the first round before facing the Miami Heat (coached by Riley) in the second round. The Knicks took a 3–1 lead in the series before a brawl near the end of Game 5 resulted in suspensions of key players. Many of the suspended Knicks players, Ewing in particular, were disciplined not for participating in the altercation itself, but for violating an NBA rule stipulating that a benched player may not leave the bench during a fight (the rule was subsequently amended, making it illegal to leave the "bench area"). With Ewing and Houston suspended for Game 6, Johnson and Starks suspended for Game 7, and Charlie Ward suspended for both, the Knicks lost the series.
The 1997–98 season was marred by a wrist injury to Ewing on December 22, which forced him to miss the rest of the season and much of the playoffs. The team, which had a 43–39 record that season, still managed to defeat the Heat in the first round of the playoffs before having another meeting with the Pacers in the second round. Ewing returned in time for game two of the series. This time, the Pacers easily won the series in five games, as Reggie Miller once again broke the hearts of Knicks fans by hitting a tying three-pointer with 5.1 seconds remaining in Game 4, en route to a Pacers overtime victory. For the fourth straight year, the Knicks were eliminated in the second round of the playoffs.
Prior to the lockout-shortened 1998–99 season, the Knicks traded Starks in a package to the Golden State Warriors for 1994's 1st team all league shooting guard Latrell Sprewell (whose contract was voided by the Warriors after choking Warriors' head coach P. J. Carlesimo during the previous season), while also trading Charles Oakley for Marcus Camby. After barely getting into the playoffs with a 27–23 record, the Knicks started a Cinderella run. It started with the Knicks eliminating the #1 seeded Heat in the first round after Allan Houston bounced in a running one-hander off the front of the rim, high off the backboard, and in with 0.8 seconds left in the deciding 5th game. This remarkable upset marked only the second time in NBA history that an 8-seed had defeated the 1-seed in the NBA playoffs. After defeating the Atlanta Hawks in the second round four games to none, they faced the Pacers yet again in the Eastern Conference Finals. Despite losing Ewing to injury for the rest of the playoffs prior to Game 3, the Knicks won the series (aided in part to a four-point play by Larry Johnson in the final seconds of Game 3) to become the first eighth-seeded playoff team to make it to the NBA Finals. However, in the Finals, the San Antonio Spurs, with superstars David Robinson and Tim Duncan, proved too much for the injury-laden Knicks, who lost in five games. The remarkable fifth game of this Finals is remembered for its 2nd half scoring duel between the Spurs' Tim Duncan and the Knicks' Latrell Sprewell, and was decided by a long jumper by Avery Johnson with 47 seconds left to clinch the title for the Spurs.
The 1999–2000 season would prove to be the last one in New York for Ewing, as the Knicks, who had a 50–32 record that season, defeated Miami in another dramatic 7-game series in which Ewing's dunk with over a minute remaining in game 7, provided the winning margin in a 1-point road victory. They would however lose in the Eastern Conference Finals to the Pacers in six games. After the season, Ewing was traded on September 20, 2000, to the Seattle SuperSonics, and the Ewing era, which produced many successful playoff appearances but no NBA championship titles, came to an end.
Post-Ewing era decline (2000–2008)
Despite the loss of Ewing, the Knicks remained successful in the regular season, as they posted a 48–34 record. In the NBA playoffs, however, they fell in five games to the Toronto Raptors, failing to get past the first round of the playoffs for the first time in a decade. Soon, the Knicks began suffering through a steep decline. After starting the season 10–9, the team was stunned on December 8, 2001 by the sudden resignation of Van Gundy. The team, which named longtime assistant Don Chaney as their new head coach, ended up with a 30–52 record, and for the first time since the 1986–87 season, they did not qualify for the playoffs.
The Knicks attempted to improve during the 2001–02 season by initiating a number of trades and free agent signings. Among these included acquiring guards Shandon Anderson and Howard Eisley, both of whom carried expensive, long-term contracts. These moves were criticized by many analysts and Knicks fans, as it was considered that not only were these players overpaid in light of their recent performances, but also because the contracts took up valuable salary-cap space. Such trades heavily contributed to the Knicks sky-rocketing payroll, which would burden them in the years to come. The Knicks improved slightly in 2002–03 but still delivered a disappointing season, posting a 37–45 record and failing to qualify for the playoffs for the second straight season.
After a 15–24 start to the 2003–04 season, the Knicks underwent a massive overhaul. Isiah Thomas was named the Knicks' president on December 22, 2003 after the firing of Scott Layden, and eventually replaced Don Chaney with Lenny Wilkens behind the bench. At the same time, Thomas orchestrated several trades, including one that brought point guard Stephon Marbury to the team. The team seemed to have good chemistry following the Marbury trade as he executed the pick and roll successfully with the team's two jump-shooting big men, Michael Doleac and Keith Van Horn. However, that chemistry unravelled when the latter two were traded in a three team trade with the Milwaukee Bucks and the Atlanta Hawks, bringing in Tim Thomas and Nazr Mohammed. The team qualified for the playoffs that year with a 39–43 record, but were swept by the New Jersey Nets in the first round. The series included a much publicized spat between the Knicks' Tim Thomas and Nets' Kenyon Martin, in which Thomas challenged Martin to a fight in the newspapers and called him "Fugazy".
The Knicks fared worse in the 2004–05 season, as they ended up with a 33–49 record. Wilkens resigned during the season, and Herb Williams served as interim coach for the rest of the season. During the off-season, the team signed Larry Brown to a five-year contract worth about $50 million, hoping he would lead the Knicks back to the NBA playoffs.
In the summer before the season, the Knicks acquired two centers. Jerome James was signed for the mid-level exception for five years plus a one-year player option. Later, Chicago Bull Eddy Curry, who reportedly had a worrying heart condition, was refusing to take a controversial heart test, and was on the outs with John Paxson, Chicago's General Manager. The Bulls signed-and-traded him to the Knicks along with Antonio Davis for Tim Thomas, Michael Sweetney, the Knicks 2006 first round pick, and the right to swap first-round picks with the Knicks in 2007, as well as 2007 and 2009 second-round picks. Isiah Thomas did not lottery-protect the picks, and the Knicks forfeited the second pick in the 2006 draft, and the ninth in the 2007 draft. The Knicks' payroll was the highest in the league at over $130 million, but the team finished the season with the second worst record in the NBA, just behind the Portland Trail Blazers, having finished the 2005–06 season with a dismal 23–59 record and capped off with the firing and $18.5 million buy-out of coach Larry Brown.
Over the last two years, Thomas' trades have been highly criticized, bringing in expensive players, such as Stephon Marbury, Jamal Crawford, Jerome James, Malik Rose, Jalen Rose, and Steve Francis. Moreover, Thomas has also accepted many bad contracts to make these trades, such as those of Penny Hardaway, Jerome Williams and Maurice Taylor, and given up draft picks. To Thomas' credit, his draft picks of David Lee, Trevor Ariza (later traded by Thomas), Nate Robinson, and Wilson Chandler are considered[by whom?] wise, as was his signing of free-agent center Jackie Butler, who later signed with the Spurs. Conversely, many considered his 2006 first-round draft pick of Renaldo Balkman very foolish, although Balkman's better-than-expected play in his rookie season led many to initially reverse this early sentiment before his play regressed in his second season.
Numerous anti-Knick websites have sprung up, most notably SellTheKnicks.com, who organized a march on Madison Square Garden, the home of the draft, to protest Dolan's "abysmal" management of the Knicks' players and coaching staff.
On December 16, 2006, the Knicks and the Denver Nuggets broke into a brawl during their game in Madison Square Garden.
On December 20, 2006, with many players still serving the suspension above, David Lee created one of the most memorable plays in recent Knicks history during a game against the Charlotte Bobcats. With a tie game and 0.1 seconds left on the game clock in double overtime, Jamal Crawford inbounded from the sideline, near half-court. The ball sailed towards the basket, and with that 0.1 seconds still remaining on the game clock, Lee tipped the ball off of the backboard and into the hoop. Because of the Trent Tucker Rule (instituted in 1994), a player is allowed solely to tip the ball to score when the ball is put back into play with three-tenths of a second or less remaining. Because of this rule, the rarity of Lee's play increases. The Knicks won, 111–109 in double overtime.
The Knicks improved by 10 games in the 2006–2007 campaign, and were only eliminated from playoff contention in the last week of the season. Injuries ravaged the team at the end of the year, and they ended with a 33–49 (.402) record, avoiding a 50-loss season by defeating the Charlotte Bobcats 94–93 in a thriller on the last day of the season.
During the 2007 offseason, the organization sunk to a new low. Anucha Browne Sanders, a former Knicks executive, had filed a sexual harassment lawsuit in 2006 against Isiah Thomas, James Dolan, and Madison Square Garden LP. On October 2, 2007, the jury returned a verdict finding Thomas and Madison Square Garden liable for sexual harassment. The jury also levied $11.6 million in punitive damages against MSG. The trial proved embarrassing for the Knicks, Thomas, and Marbury, revealing sordid details about Knicks management and the environment at MSG.
At the 2007 NBA Draft, Thomas traded Channing Frye and Steve Francis to the Portland Trail Blazers for Zach Randolph, Fred Jones, and Dan Dickau. The draft also featured the Knicks selecting Wilson Chandler with the 23rd pick and later acquiring the rights to Demetris Nichols — the 53rd pick in the draft — from the Blazers. Dickau was traded to the Clippers for draft pick Jared Jordan. Jordan and Nichols were both released by the end of the preseason. The Knicks started out 1–9 and went on to post a 8th consecutive losing season and tied the franchise mark for their worst record ever, at 23-59. Many Knicks fans called for the firing of coach and GM Isiah Thomas. The chant "Fire Isiah" became common at Madison Square Garden over the course of the season. On November 29, 2007 after engaging in pre-game trash talk with the league-leading Celtics prior to a road game while they were still winless on the road, the Knicks were handed one of their worst defeats in their history by the Boston Celtics, with a final score of 104–59. This matched their third-largest margin of defeat.
Donnie Walsh era (2008–2011)
On April 2, 2008, James Dolan signed Indiana Pacers CEO and president Donnie Walsh to take over Isiah Thomas's role as team president. Upon the conclusion of the 2007–2008 regular season, Walsh fired Isiah Thomas, and on May 13, 2008, Walsh officially named former Phoenix Suns coach Mike D'Antoni as head coach. D'Antoni signed a four-year, $24 million deal to coach the team.
On May 20, 2008, the Knicks received the 6th pick in the 2008 NBA Draft, using it to select the Italian Danilo Gallinari. The Knicks also signed veteran guard Chris Duhon using a portion of their salary cap exemption. On November 21, 2008, the Knicks dealt Jamal Crawford to the Golden State Warriors for Al Harrington. Not long after, New York then traded their leading scorer Zach Randolph along with Mardy Collins to the Los Angeles Clippers for Cuttino Mobley and Tim Thomas, with the intention of freeing cap space for the 2010 offseason, when top-flight players such as LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, and Amar'e Stoudemire may be available. In 2009 the Knicks traded Tim Thomas, Jerome James, and Anthony Roberson to the Chicago Bulls for Larry Hughes , in addition to sending Malik Rose to the Oklahoma City Thunder for Chris Wilcox. Additionally, the long standing controversy with Stephon Marbury ended when the two sides agreed to a buy-out of Marbury's contract, which allowed him to sign with the Celtics when he cleared waivers on February 27. In spite of a volatile roster, the Knicks improved by nine wins from the previous season, coinciding with the emergence of forward/center David Lee, who led the league with 65 double-doubles, and the continued development of guard Nate Robinson and swingman Wilson Chandler.
In the 2009 NBA Draft, the Knicks chose forward Jordan Hill after targets such as Stephen Curry, Jonny Flynn, and Ricky Rubio were off the board; and guard Toney Douglas with the eight and 29th picks, the latter of which was acquired from the Los Angeles Lakers. Shortly afterwards, New York executed a trade with the Memphis Grizzlies in which the Knicks acquired Darko Miličić in exchange for Quentin Richardson.
The Knicks got off to their worst 10 game start in franchise history, producing 9 losses, with just one win against the New Orleans Hornets. The Knicks responded by winning 9 games and losing 6 in December.
On January 24, 2010 the Knicks suffered their worst home loss in Madison Square Garden history against the Dallas Mavericks in front of a sellout crowd. The 50-point loss was also the second-worst in Knicks franchise history. The worst was a 62-point loss to the Syracuse Nationals (now the Philadelphia 76ers) on Christmas Day 1960.
Nearly a month after their worst home loss in MSG history the Knicks shook up their roster by making some surprising moves. On February 17, the Knicks traded Darko Miličić to the Minnesota Timberwolves for Brian Cardinal and cash considerations. On February 18, the Knicks and Boston Celtics swapped guard Nate Robinson for shooting guard Eddie House. The deal also included forward Marcus Landry going to the Celtics and the Knicks acquiring bench players J. R. Giddens and Bill Walker. The Knicks also acquired All-Star forward Tracy McGrady from the Houston Rockets and point guard Sergio Rodriguez from the Sacramento Kings in a three-way trade. The deal sent the Knicks shooting guard Larry Hughes to Sacramento and forward Jordan Hill and power forward Jared Jeffries to Houston. About 3 weeks after these team-changing trades, the Knicks played the Dallas Mavericks at American Airlines Center and blew them out by a score of 128–94 for the largest win of the season. However, the Knicks were eliminated from playoff contention in late March 2010. The Knicks have not won a playoff series since the year 2000, and have not even made the playoffs in six years. The Knicks finished fairly well due in part to the improvement of David Lee and rookie Toney Douglas along with other young players. In addition, the Knicks are set to play two preseason games in Europe during the 2010-2011 NBA preseason. On July 5, 2010 the Knicks struck a deal with former Phoenix Suns forward/center Amar'e Stoudemire. The contract is worth $99.7 million over a span of five years. The Knicks then traded David Lee to the Golden State Warriors for Anthony Randolph, Kelenna Azubuike and Ronny Turiaf. Point guard Raymond Felton was picked up during early summer free agency for a 2 year contract reportedly worth $15.8 million. On August 11, 2010, the Knicks signed guard Roger Mason.
On April 12, 2014 the Knicks where eliminated from playoff contention one year after becoming the No.2 seed in the Eastern Conference and beating the Boston Celtics in 6 games(4-2) and then losing to the Indiana Pacers in 6 games(4-2) With high expectations coming into the 2013-14 season in which they where not accomplished. The New York Knicks will start rebuilding in the off-season.
On June 9, 2014, the Knicks hired Derek Fisher as the head coach. Fisher played under Jackson with the Los Angeles Lakers, winning five (5) NBA championships with the Lakers.
On June 25, 2014, the Knicks traded controversial guard Raymond Felton along with former NBA defensive player of the year Tyson Chandler to the Dallas Mavericks. In return the Knicks received Shane Larkin, José Calderón, Samuel Dalembert, and Wayne Ellington along with two picks for the following day's draft. The trade was the first one that Phil Jackson ever executed as a front office executive. On June 26, as part of the 2014 NBA draft, the Knicks selected Cleanthony Early as the 34th overall pick and Thanasis Antetokounmpo as the 51st overall pick, using the draft picks received in the trade from the Dallas Mavericks. The Knicks also acquired Louis Labeyrie, an additional second round draft pick, after he was traded by the Pacers.
On January 7, 2015, the Knicks set a franchise record with its 13th consecutive loss. The Knicks fell 101–91 to the Washington Wizards, giving New York its longest losing streak in the franchise's 69 season history. This record was extended to 16th consecutive losses, after the NBA Global Games loss against the Milwaukee Bucks in London. On February 15, 2015, the Knicks bought out Amar'e Stoudemire's contract. The Knicks finished their 2014–15 season with a win-loss record of 17–65, which is the worst record in franchise history.
On June 24, 2015, the Knicks selected Kristaps Porziņģis with the 4th overall pick in the draft and traded Tim Hardaway Jr. to the Atlanta Hawks in exchange for Jerian Grant, the 19th overall pick. On February 8, 2016, Fisher was relieved of his coaching duties, while Kurt Rambis was named as interim head coach.
On June 2, 2016, the Knicks hired former NBA player Jeff Hornacek as their next head coach. On June 22, former NBA MVP Derrick Rose was traded along with Justin Holiday and a second-round pick from Chicago to New York in exchange for Robin Lopez, Jose Calderon and guard Jerian Grant. In the off-season the Knicks key signings were Joakim Noah, Brandon Jennings, and Courtney Lee. The Knicks did not possess a draft pick during the 2016 NBA Draft. On June 22, as part of the 2017 NBA draft, the Knicks selected Frank Ntilikina with the 8th overall pick, Damyean Dotson with the 44th overall pick, and Ognjen Jaramaz with the 58th overall pick.
On June 28, 2017, the Knicks parted ways with Jackson after three years as the Knicks' president of basketball operations. Under Jackson's presidency, the Knicks had gone 80–166, suffered three consecutive losing seasons, and missed three consecutive playoffs.
1946–1964: Father Knickerbocker era
The first logo of the New York Knicks is of a character named "Father Knickerbocker" dribbling a basketball, in the iconic blue and orange colors. It was designed by New York World-Telegram cartoonist Willard Mullin. From the beginning, the Knicks home uniforms are in white with blue and orange trim, while the away uniforms are in blue with orange and white trim. The first iterations contain monotone lettering in blue (home) and orange (away) lettering, with the addition of a checkerboard pattern during the mid-1950s.
1964–1992: The Classic roundball era
Main article: Knicks Roundball Logo
The Knicks would introduce an iconic logo that would endure for the next three decades. Designed by Bud Freeman, the word 'Knicks' superimposed over a brown basketball is known as the 'Classic Roundball Logo', with minor changes throughout its lifespan such as maroon wordmark and orange basketball. An alternate logo featuring the full team name inside an orange basketball was used during the late 1960s and into the 1970s. As the 1960s began, the Knicks updated their uniforms again. This time the lettering is in serifed fonts, and the blue lettering and numbers on the home uniforms are now trimmed in orange, while on the away uniforms it is in monotone white. Side stripes were also added to the uniform. The 'NY' monogram is on the left leg of the shorts.
1968–1979; 1983–1997: Championship era uniforms
The Knicks unveiled a uniform that would stay for three decades. This uniform, with an arched 'NEW YORK' in serif lettering and in orange, would be the uniform worn during their 1970 and 1973 championship seasons; however they were not introduced simultaneously. The home uniforms would debut in 1968, while the away uniforms debuted the following year. One noticeable feature was that the player's name was in a straight block arched lettering, which was meticulously designed by Gerry Cosby and his sporting goods company. The unusual arrangement on the player's name was later adopted by several Major League Baseball teams in the 1970s, and are currently used by the National Hockey League's Colorado Avalanche, Detroit Red Wings and New York Rangers. On the shorts, there was no logo placed during much of the 1970s, but during the 1978–79 season, the side stripes were eliminated and the interlocking 'NY' logo inside an apple was placed instead. When the uniform was reinstated for the 1983–84 season, it now featured the player's number and the interlocking 'NY' logo, in addition to the return of the side stripes. The shorts number was eliminated in 1987, while variations of the 'Roundball Logo' replaced the 'NY' logo from 1991 to 1997. Since the 1991–92 season various outfitters such as Champion, Puma, Reebok and Adidas have taken over uniform production from Cosby, while player names reverted to a radial arch and added serifs.
1979–1983: Maroon era uniforms
At the beginning of the 1980s the Knicks radically changed their uniforms. Royal blue and orange were replaced by navy and maroon. During this period, the home uniforms featured the team name below the number, both in maroon with navy trim and in a stylized, free-flowing font. Navy away uniforms continue to feature the city name but below the white and maroon number. The interlocking 'NY' logo debuted on the shorts, with the addition of player numbers and side stripes during the 1981–82 season.
The 'Knicks' script from the 'Maroon Era' uniforms was later reused in the uniforms of the Knicks' NBA Development League affiliate Westchester Knicks, with the same team name below the number format.
1992–2012: New look era
Before the 1992–93 season the Knicks updated their 'Roundball Logo' to its present form, with the word 'Knicks' in a futuristic font, again superimposed over a basketball, with a silver triangle accentuating the look. The "New Look" logo was designed by Tom O'Grady. For the 1995–96 season, the city name in a futuristic script was added atop the logo, while an alternate 'Subway Token' logo featuring the acronym 'NYK' was introduced. Black was also introduced as an accent color. The logo was added while the 'Championship Era' uniforms were still in use, but during the 1995–96 season, the Knicks unveiled a blue alternate uniform, this time featuring black side stripes and the aforementioned 'Subway Token' logo on the shorts' beltline. A home white version of this uniform was introduced for the 1997–98 season, effectively retiring the championship era uniforms. In the 2001–02 season, the side stripes were narrowed, while the 'Subway Token' logo was moved to the back of the uniform, and the Knicks primary logo moved from the side to the front of the shorts.
2012–2018: Modern era
The Knicks updated their 'New Look Logo', this time eliminating the color black from the scheme. They still used the previous uniform during the 2011–12 season, but for the 2012–13 season, the Knicks unveiled new uniforms inspired from their 'Championship Era' uniforms. A more subtle and bolder 'New York' script was introduced, while the uniform piping stopped until the lettering. The phrase Once A Knick, Always A Knick is added on the uniform collar. Gray became the accent color. In addition, an updated version of their 1970s secondary logo, this time featuring only the team name, was introduced.
On October 25, 2013, the Knicks unveiled an alternate orange uniform, which is essentially a mirror image of the blue away uniforms, but with orange as the primary color and blue and white as trim colors. The uniforms debuted on October 31 in a road game against the Chicago Bulls, and were used in the first five weekend home games, but after going 0–6 in the orange uniforms, they were discontinued permanently.
2018: Kristaps Porzingis Era
On 24 September, 2017, the Knicks traded their lone superstar of the team, Carmelo Anthony. This means their offense and rebuilding will now be centered around Kristaps Porzingis. Making him the new face of the team.
- Madison Square Garden III (1946–1968)
- 69th Regiment Armory (occasional games, 1946–1960)
- Madison Square Garden IV (1968–current)
- Walt Bellamy
- Bill Bradley
- Dave DeBusschere
- Patrick Ewing
- Walt Frazier
- Harry Gallatin
- Tom Gola
- Jerry Lucas
- Dick McGuire
- Earl Monroe
- Willis Reed
- Phil Jackson
The Knicks have retired the numbers of nine players.
- 10 – Walt Frazier, G, 1967–77; Broadcaster
- 12 – Dick Barnett, G, 1965–74
- 15 – Earl Monroe, G, 1972–80
- 15 – Dick McGuire, G, 1949–57; Head Coach, 1965–68; longtime Scouting Director
- 18 – Phil Jackson, C, 1967–80
- 19 – Willis Reed, C, 1964–74; Head Coach, 1977–78
- 22 – Dave DeBusschere, F, 1969–74
- 24 – Bill Bradley, F,1967–77
- 33 – Patrick Ewing, C, 1985–2000
- 613 – Red Holzman, Head Coach, 1967–77, 1978–82 (won 613 games as Knicks coach)
- 23 - Trey Burke
- 21 - Damyean Dotson
- 3 - Tim Hardaway Jr.
- 8 - Mario Hezonja
- 4 - Isaiah Hicks (TW)
- 00 - Enes Kanter
- 20 - Kevin Knox
- 2 - Luke Kornet
- 5 - Courtney Lee
- 1 - Emmanuel Mudiay
- 11 - Frank Ntilikina
- 6 - Kristaps Porzingis
- 26 - Mitchell Robinson
- 42 - Lance Thomas
- 14 - Allonzo Trier
- 32 - Noah Vonleh
Coaches and management
Main article: List of New York Knicks head coaches
Basketball Hall of Famers
- Dave Checketts
- Ernie Grunfeld
- Stu Jackson
- Joe Lapchick
- Don Nelson
- Rick Pitino
- Jeff Van Gundy
- Mike Walczewski
- Herb Williams
|Games Played||1,039||Patrick Ewing|
|Minutes Played||37,586||Patrick Ewing|
|Field Goals||9,260||Patrick Ewing|
|Field Goal Attempts||18,224||Patrick Ewing|
|Field Goal Percentage||.565||David Lee|
|Three-point Field Goals||982||John Starks|
|Three-point Field Goal Attempts||2,848||John Starks|
|Three-point Field Goal Percentage||.449||Hubert Davis|
|Free Throws||5,126||Patrick Ewing|
|Free Throw Attempts||6,904||Patrick Ewing|
|Free Throw Percentage||.886||Mike Glenn|
|Offensive Rebounds||2,580||Charles Oakley|
|Defensive Rebounds||8,191||Patrick Ewing|
|Blocked Shots||2,758||Patrick Ewing|
|Personal Fouls||3,676||Patrick Ewing|
NBA MVP of the Year
- Willis Reed – 1970
NBA Finals MVP
- Willis Reed – 1970, 1973
NBA Rookie of the Year
- Willis Reed – 1965
- Patrick Ewing – 1986
- Mark Jackson – 1988
NBA Sixth Man of the Year
- Anthony Mason – 1995
- John Starks – 1997
- J.R Smith - 2013
NBA Coach of the Year
- Red Holzman – 1970
- Pat Riley – 1993
All-NBA First Team
- Harry Gallatin – 1954
- Walt Frazier – 1970, 1972, 1974, 1975
- Willis Reed – 1970
- Bernard King – 1984, 1985
- Patrick Ewing – 1990
All-NBA Second Team
- Carl Braun – 1948, 1954
- Dick McGuire – 1951
- Harry Gallatin – 1955
- Richie Guerin – 1959, 1960, 1962
- Willis Reed – 1967, 1968, 1969, 1971
- Dave DeBusschere – 1969
- Walt Frazier – 1971, 1973
- Patrick Ewing – 1988, 1989, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1997
NBA All-Defensive First Team
- Dave DeBusschere – 1969, 1970, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1974
- Walt Frazier – 1969, 1970, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1975
- Willis Reed – 1970
- Micheal Ray Richardson – 1981
- Charles Oakley – 1994
NBA All-Defensive Second Team
- Patrick Ewing – 1988, 1989, 1992
- John Starks – 1993
- Charles Oakley – 1998
1968 & 1969
New York Knicks
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Los Angeles Lakers
New York Knicks
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