The New York Knicks are one of the most recognizable sports franchises in the world. From their timeless logo to the internationally praised and awed Madison Square Garden, the Knickerbockers embody everything that an organization aims to be.
Well, everything with the exception of one important factor. Winning.
The Knicks were founded in 1946, the year the then-BAA and now NBA was founded. In those 66 years, the Knicks have maintained an unexplainable level of popularity despite winning just two championships.
Although that number sits higher than 16 current or past NBA franchises, the Knicks aren't your average team. They play at the Mecca of Basketball and are approaching the 40-year anniversary of their last title.
Red Holzman led the 1970 and 1973 New York Knicks to NBA championships. This began a tradition of shocking the world, capped off with the 1973 upset of Wilt Chamberlain and the Los Angeles Lakers in the NBA Finals.
Since then, New York's favorite child has made just two NBA Finals appearances. Both times, the Knickerbockers lost to a Texas franchise—the Houston Rockets in 1994 and San Antonio Spurs in 1999.
Even still, their fan base displays an undying love for their favorite NBA franchise. With an active offseason and the strong closing of their 2011-12 campaign, 2012-13 has begun to shape up as the year where Knicks fans will finally get their money's worth.
Finally, the Knicks have inspired genuine faith. That was until they revealed their true motivation.
According to John Schumann of NBA.com, the New York Knicks have signed 38-year-old Rasheed Wallace to a non-guaranteed contract. Wallace, who won the 2004 NBA championship with the Detroit Pistons, hasn't played in the NBA since 2010.
It was a season in which he shot just 40.9 percent from the floor and 28.3 percent from distance.
Why did the New York Knicks sign Rasheed Wallace?
Fortunately for James Dolan, this move has his team back in the headlines. Even if Wallace is genuine about his attempt to return and contribute, the Knicks seem none too concerned with victories on the floor. They want to win in the media.
Quite the disappointing turn for a player who appears intent on making a comeback.
“I’m not expecting to come in here to average 25 points,” he said. “I’m not expecting to come in here to average 35, 40 minutes. Wherever coach needs me at. If it’s two minutes, then I’m out there for two minutes going hard...I’m not one to complain. I know I’m not the No. 1 guy here, and I’m willing to accept my role. With me being a veteran player, I know what my role would be.”
Wallace has the right idea. He's clearly motivated and would offer a positive impact for the inconsistent Knicks frontcourt. In fact, 'Sheed may even be able to offer the late-game and defensive boost that the Knicks' power forward position has needed for years.
Unfortunately, this appears to be yet another attempt by James Dolan to garner attention for his franchise. Not win games.
Before we dive into what the true motivation for this move, however, it's important to acknowledge the benefit of it.
First and foremost, Wallace must earn his spot on the roster via his work in training camp and the preseason. This is not a guaranteed contract that simply places Wallace on the roster and creates a reality TV show in the waiting.
Second of all, the Knicks are relatively weak at power forward beyond Amar'e Stoudemire. Although occasionally efficient, going small cannot always be the answer. Sometimes, that's the perfect way to find your team struggling.
What's also important to note is that the signing of Wallace would fit the Knicks' offseason theme. They've added a plethora of veterans to a relatively unproven roster, including Jason Kidd, Marcus Camby and Kurt Thomas.
The common denominator between Kidd and Wallace is that both have won an NBA championship. Changing the culture of a team starts with the leadership qualities their veterans display and how much they've achieved in their careers.
With all of this being noted, this signing comes at a time when the Knicks have already constructed their roster and entered training camp. Head coach Mike Woodson has even stated that Wallace wouldn't see more than 5-to-10 minutes a night (via Ian Begley of ESPNNewYork.com)
Although his championship pedigree and prowess in the clutch are enticing, pulling a player two years out of retirement doesn't appear to be the most logical course of action to fill a void. Not when Kurt Thomas comes to the team with the same role outlined.
In all likelihood, this is an example of a team capitalizing on name value and star power. The New York Knicks have always been about selling tickets and garnering as much attention as one possibly can.
Sign a 38-year-old out of retirement is just their latest ploy at notoriety.