15 Moves That Doomed The New York Knicks Franchise (And 5 Recent Moves That Give Fans Hope)

A whopping 72 seasons, 42 playoff appearances, eight Conference titles, and two championships. The New York Knicks organization was once a shining franchise for the NBA, however, over a decade’s worth of bad management and insane controversy has made the team more of a joke than a destination. It’s pretty sad if you’re a Knicks fan, especially if you lived through some of the glory years. Home of “The Mecca of Basketball,” the Knicks have been as irrelevant as Nicolas Cage - yes, he’s still making movies.

The state of the Knicks has been so bad, they’ve managed to produce a below .500 overall winning percentage for the franchise, going 2761-2878 since their foundation in 1946. Enough is enough. We can blame James Dolan, the owner, all we want, but he isn’t going anywhere. It’s not like he’s actually on the court, shooting the ball, or coaching the team. The only thing he’s doing is putting cash into the team and kicking Knicks legend, Charles Oakley, out of Madison Square Garden.

We should recognize all the moves that doomed this franchise over the decades and learn from them. This franchise can’t be bad forever, can it? Who really wants to boycott this team? I don’t and I’m sure most Knicks fans don’t, but it may have to come to that one day. There is some hope for the Knickerbockers, and we’re glad to help you see the light.

As the great musician Frank Sinatra once said, “If you can make it there, you’ll make it anywhere; it’s up to you, New York, New York.”

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20 Doomed - Drafting Jordan Hill Over Others

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Jordan who? Jordan Hill would be selected by the Knicks with the 8th pick in the 2009 NBA draft. He would do well during his first NBA Summer League and fans had hope that he could help their favorite franchise. They were wrong. Hill would be shipped out from New York by 2012 and play for several other teams before being released by the Minnesota Timberwolves in 2017.

Who could the Knicks have taken over Hill? DeMar DeRozan, Brandon Jennings, Jrue Holiday, Jeff Teague, and Darren Collison. That year, the Knicks were one pick away from drafting Stephen Curry, so maybe they freaked out when he was taken off the board and drafted Hill.

19 Doomed - Trading For Andrea Bargnani

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New York has always had a connection with Italy -just watch a Martin Scorsese film- so it’s never a surprise when the Knicks decide to acquire players born in Italy. They drafted Danilo Gallinari, which everyone had high hopes for, but was shipped out for Carmelo Anthony before he could reach his prime, so the Knicks decided to go hunting again.

This time they acquired Andrea Bargnani for the 2013-14 season. They wanted him so badly, they traded away three decent role players and a future first-round pick (2016). Everyone that knows anything about basketball, knows he’s not worth a first-round pick. Bargnani would flame out after two seasons and became another disaster in the history books for the franchise.

18 Doomed - LeBron Taking His Talents Elsewhere

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Do you remember where you were the night of July 8, 2010? I can remember it like it was yesterday and many Knicks fans thought the king of basketball would become a Knickerbocker. Known as The Decision, LeBron James announced where he would be taking his talents after seven seasons with the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Some thought he would stay in Cleveland, others thought he would team with his friends in Miami, Knicks fans, of course, thought he would be their savior. James would take his talents to the Miami Heat, sending a message that the New York Knicks weren’t relevant or good enough for him. As we all know, the Knick’s consolation prize was Carmelo Anthony, and that didn’t work out too well.

17 Hope - Investing In Younger Talent

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Since the early 2000s, the Knicks have been in a weird state, where they think they could rebuild a team while adding on over-the-hill players with bloated contracts. It seems that the trend has stopped in the last few years. Besides the likes of Joakim Noah or Jarrett Jack, the Knicks have been acquiring a lot of young talent through trades, the developmental league, and drafts.

You can look at the Knicks drafting Frenchmen sensation Frank Ntilikina (19-years old) in 2017, signing Trey Burke (25-years old) last season, and offering a contract to Mario Hezonja (23-years old) this offseason. Don’t forget newly minted Knick, Kevin Knox, might be a steal with his upside.

16 Doomed - Trading A Bunch Of Chips For Carmelo Anthony

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After being burned by LeBron James, the Knicks couldn’t handle a superstar-less team going into this decade so they put all their chips in Carmelo Anthony. Instead of waiting for the 2011 off-season, the Knicks rushed into a trade with the Denver Nuggets and gave away everything but Amar’e Stoudemire and the kitchen sink.

On February 22, 2011, the Knicks would trade a slew of players, such as Wilson Chandler and Danilo Gallinari for Anthony and Chauncey Billups. At the time it seemed like a great idea, however, as we all know today, Anthony couldn’t get the Knicks out of Eastern Conference semi-finals.

15 Doomed - Signing Jerome James

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If you ever become a GM of a professional basketball team, word of advice, don’t give a guy a huge contract for playing above average basketball in the playoffs for the first time in his life, while in a contract year.

The Knicks were mesmerized by Jerome James’ play during the 2003-04 playoffs when he tripled his regular-season statistics and decided to give the towering center a five-year, $30 million contract. It turned out to be a terrible move, that once again, ate up any cap space the Knicks had. James would come into training camp overweight and averaged a measly 3.1 points and 2.1 rebounds his first season.

14 Doomed - Passing On Metta World Peace

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Before Scott Layden took the job as GM for the Knicks in 1999, the team would be run by interim GM Ed Tapscott. You have to remember; the Knicks were the Cinderella-story of the 1998-99 season when they became the first 8th seed to reach the NBA Finals. They had momentum and a few key players to make them relevant at the turn of the century.

Tapscott would fail miserably during the 1999 NBA draft. He would select Frenchman Frédéric Weis, a man known for being dunked over by Vince Carter, instead of excellent players such as hometown hero, Metta World Peace (Ron Artest), Andrei Kirilenko, and Manu Ginóbili.

13 Hope - Drafting A Unicorn

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Godzingis, 6 God, KP, Three 6 Latvia, and The Unicorn, finally, after decades upon decades of swinging and missing in the NBA draft, the Knicks got lucky and found a sensational player, when healthy. Kristaps Porziņģis is coming off the worst injury (torn left ACL) of his career, however, he will be 23 in August. That’s right, just 23 years old and he has a lot of time to build up strength and become a legit force in the league.

Not only can he shoot, but the man knows how to block shots. He brings a sense of hope that Knicks fans haven’t seen in years. Not only is he young, but he was drafted by the Knicks, and New Yorkers love their home-grown talents.

12 Doomed - Trading For Stephon Marbury

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It was 2004, and the Knicks were in a state of depression. They didn’t have a superstar, and for a franchise that is considered a top market location, it was a big blow to the front office. In the middle of the 2003-04 season, the Knicks decided to make a move by trading several players, including, Howard Eisley and Antonio McDyess, and a future first-round pick (2010 Gordan Hayward) for Stephon Marbury and Penny Hardaway.

Fans loved the trade because Marbury, a Brooklyn native, was finally coming home. The Marbury-Knicks love affair would end in tragedy as he would never take the Knicks to the next level and be involved in a sexual assault lawsuit, eventually being banned from team practice in 2009.

11 Doomed - Trading Walt Frazier

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The greatest point guard to ever put on a New York Knicks uniform, Walt Frazier, was traded long ago and isn’t as relevant as the other examples on this list, however, Frazier being traded sent a precedent for the franchise.

After pouring his heart and soul into the Knicks, helping them achieve to NBA Final Championships, the franchise would trade him to the Cleveland Cavaliers for a young Jim Clemons. Every Knick’s fan was stunned with the move, including Frazier. You would think he would be a Knick for life, but nope, the franchise told all their fans, that anyone, including the greatest, can be traded.

10 Doomed - Trading For Eddy Curry

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Isiah Thomas would give up future draft picks for this bust. Eddy Curry was selected by the Chicago Bulls with the fourth pick in the 2001 NBA draft. After four seasons playing decent ball for the Bulls, but not at an All-Star caliber, the Knicks decided to go all in on him.

They would trade Tim Thomas, Mike Sweetney, Jermaine Jackson, a 2006 first round pick (LaMarcus Aldridge), a 2007 first round pick (Joakim Noah), for Eddy Curry, Antonio Davis and a 2007 first round pick (Wilson Chandler). Stuck with an injury-plagued Curry for five seasons, the Knicks saw potential players they could have drafted, become All-Stars for other teams.

9 Hope - Dave Fizdale

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The New York Knicks announced David Fizdale as the 29th head coach of the New York Knicks earlier this summer. If you’re asking who he is, that might be a good thing. It seems like the Knicks always went with the “splashy name” over the more qualified talent, just look at how Derek Fisher and John Hornacek turned out.

As the former head coach of the Memphis Grizzlies, he would take the team to a 43-39 record in the 2016-17 season. It was enough to crack into the Western Conference playoffs, which is pretty impressive, seeing how competitive the conference is. Last season, the Grizzlies wanted to tank the season and cut Fizdale loose. He loves defense and is motivated, so don’t sleep on him.

8 Doomed - Shipping Away Talent For Antonio McDyess

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Who thinks this is a bright idea, trading a raw but talented prospect that can be a staple of a franchise for the next decade and a beloved player that has been a workhorse for the team for years, for an over-the-hill player with a chronic injury?

That’s exactly what happened during the 2002-03 season, when the Knicks shipped Nenê, the 7th pick in the 2002 NBA draft, and Marcus Camby, for Antonio McDyess of the Denver Nuggets. McDyess used to be a great player but injuries completely ruined him and he would play only 18 games for the Knicks. Meanwhile, Camby and Nenê became important pieces for the Nuggets.

7 Doomed - Trading Away A Legend

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We mentioned Walt Frazier being traded decades ago, but there is a more recent example of a Knick’s legend getting the boot. Patrick Ewing was the King of New York at one point. He was bigger than any Broadway show, any New York Yankee, or musician. The fans loved Ewing through all the ups and downs.

Arguably, if he had one other All-Star playing on the team within him in the 1990s, he could have brought a championship to New York. In 2000, the Knicks would trade him to the Seattle SuperSonics and received several players, including Glen Rice, and two first-round draft picks. The move made the Knicks even worse and a negative snowball effect would take place heading into the 21st Century.

6 Doomed - Signing Allan Houston To An Insane Deal

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A six-year, $100 million dollars, may seem like small change by today’s standards in the NBA, however, in 2001, the NBA universe would be rocked when they learned of Allan Houston’s new contract. Houston was a pretty good player, and one of the main sharpshooters who would evolve three-point shooting. He was a member of the USA men’s national basketball team and also was an All-Star.

The New York Knicks thought they had gold in Houston and didn’t care about long-term repercussions when they handed him the largest contract ever at the time. It proved to be a terrible move and kept the Knicks in a state of having minimal cap space for years to come.

5 Hope - Getting Rid Of Melo

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Enough was enough, the Knicks finally got a trade right. Carmelo Anthony was like a great lollipop that eventually gave you a terrible toothache. When he was traded to the New York Knicks in 2011, fans loved the move, although the franchise did lose some talent, however, the Knicks were once again a playoff threat.

It seemed every year got worse, and every season something controversial would happen to the team. Remember how fun Jeremy Lin was? Well, Melo didn’t like that, and the next thing you knew he was gone from the team. Remember Mike D’Antoni’s high flying offense? Well, Melo didn’t like him either, and now he’s coaching the Houston Rockets, which had the best record last season. See the pattern?

4 Doomed - Hiring Derek Fisher

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Everyone was on board for Phil Jackson to turn the franchise around when he became the President of the Knicks in 2014. The owner, James Dolan, had to pull the trigger on signing Jackson because fans started to boycott the team outside Madison Square Garden and it worked, no more boycotts. Jackson, known for the “Triangle Offense,” decided to hire Derek Fisher, a player who was coached by Jackson and knew his system very well.

The Fisher experiment ended in a disaster, both on the court and off. Not only did the Knicks have several terrible seasons, Fisher would be involved in a fist fight with Matt Barnes, his former teammate. The controversy never leaves this franchise, does it?

3 Doomed - Hiring Isiah Thomas

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Great basketball player, decent coach, terrible front office manager. Isiah Thomas get’s a lot of the flak for tanking the New York Knicks hopes while overseeing the entire operation and rightfully so. The guy was involved in an off-the-court controversy, which was a sexual harassment lawsuit that ended in an $11.5 million settlement.

Not only did his troubles off the court embarrass the Knicks and their fans, his moves on the court killed the franchise in the last decade. From drafting Ronaldo Balkman instead of Rajon Rondo, to trading for Eddy Curry, or signing Jerome James, every year Thomas made the Knicks worst.

2 Doomed - Hiring Scott Layden

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What set up the cataclysmic failure of the New York Knicks in the 21st Century can be traced back to one person, and his name isn’t Isiah Thomas. If you don’t know who Scott Layden, the current GM of the Minnesota Timberwolves, is, prepare to be amazed at how badly he screwed over this franchise.

He would handout undeserving contracts to Latrell Sprewell (five-year, $61.9 million), Kurt Thomas (three-year $13 million), and Allen Houston (six-year $100 million guaranteed), which became the death blow for any future cap space for the franchise. Not only did Layden acquire terrible players such as Shandon Anderson and Howard Eisley, he traded one of the greatest Knicks ever, Patrick Ewing, for a washed-up Glenn Rice.

1 Hope - The Future Is Bright

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There’s a buzz surrounding the Knicks, similar to the 2010 offseason. Several reports came out about All-Stars wanting to be a Knick in 2019. The Franchise will have cap space to sign some studs, especially if they move Joakim Noah, Tim Hardaway Jr. and Courtney Lee by next offseason. Two incredibly talented players attached to these rumors are Kyrie Irving and Jimmy Butler.

One of them would instantly make the Knicks relevant, both of them on the same team would make the franchise a top contender in the Eastern Conference. Rumors always fly in New York, so expect more chatter between now and the Summer of 2019.

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