New York Knicks: 20 Former Knicks Whom the Team Should've Forced to Retire
Cuttino Mobley—remember him? Didn't think so.
Well, he was once a Knick for a New York minute in 2009. Now he's suing the team for "[ending] his career by having him declared medically ineligible to play because of a preexisting heart condition." He claims New York forced him into retirement to save $19 million.
What a clever cap-room strategy by the front office on that one if true. It took Mobley's two-year contract off the books and paid dividends in luxury-tax relief. It helped bring Amar'e Stoudemire to the Garden.
That got us thinking. What if the Knicks were deftly able, in one way or another, to force a player, or coach, to retire? You can imagine James Dolan sitting in the shadows of a damp leaky cellar with two goons on each side, rasping "Your services are no longer required. Thank you."
Here's a quick look at 20 former Knicks (er, turkeys?) that would be on the other side of that conversation.
Have a great Thanksgiving!
Eddy Curry (2005-2011)
Let's begin with the obvious.
Eddy Curry was mostly a disaster and a financial albatross that choked the Knicks for four years.
Forty million for 150 games. He played 10 games in his final two seasons and looks like he'll never play again.
He's only 28, even though it seems like he's 40 and that he's been around for an eternity.
Stephon Marbury (2003-2008)
Let's continue with the obvious.
It's a good thing Stephon Marbury never worked for the post office.
I mean, talk about disgruntled and being unable to let go.
His Twitter tagline still reads "I'm not who they said I was."
Every team's worst fear, Marbury cost the company over $85 million during an entirely fruitless (well, they did lose in the first round in his first half-season) four-plus seasons, much of which was spent pacing the bench.
Tracy McGrady (2009-2010)
What happened to the once-great Tracy McGrady?
Quick, what team is he on?
Well, the now 32-year-old was on the Knicks for 24 games in 2010 in a rather pointless side-excursion toward hanging it up.
Penny Hardaway (2003-2005)
Isiah Thomas picked up a finished Anfernee Hardaway along with Stephon Marbury, and their huge contracts for two first-round draft picks (one of which was six years after the trade).
Hardaway was injured his whole term.
Keith Van Horn (2003-2004)
Keith Van Horn began the process of being past his "prime" (?) when he became a Knick in 2003.
It cost the team $13 million plus.
Van Horn eked out three partial seasons on three teams to end his career after that.
Antonio McDyess (2003-2004)
The Mets should have found a way to retire Kaz Matsui—oh wait, wrong slideshow.
The Knicks should have found a way to retire Antonio McDyess.
Again, here's a guy that scores over 1,000 points six of his first seven years, then comes to the Knicks and manages 152 points in 18 games.
At least the Knicks traded him for Marbury and Hardaway. Cough.
Luc Longley (2000-2001)
Why? Oh, why?
Officially $17 million for 25 games in 2000.
He never played again, the three-time champion done at 32.
Chris Dudley (1997-2000)
Chris Dudley did nothing for two years, then was rewarded with a $7 million contract for a third in 1999-00.
You have to laugh.
Dudley squeezed in a full season over the next three years with the Phoenix Suns and Portland Trailblazers.
Jamal Crawford (2004-2008)
Isiah Thomas strikes again.
Jamal Crawford is probably the best performer on the list, but he cost $25 million to contribute to four of the worst years in Knicks history (2004-2007).
Malik Rose (2005-2008)
Isiah Thomas strikes again, again.
Malik Rose backed up the truck for $20 million and didn't even pay for the gas.
His time with the Knicks—woeful.
Steve Francis (2006-2007)
Steve Francis began the end of his career with the Knicks.
After popping more than 1,000 points a year his first seven seasons, he managed about 700 in a year and a half in New York.
At least the $15 million the Knicks gave him helped the team buy 33 wins in 2006-07.
Antonio Davis (2005-2006)
Thirty-seven-year-old Antonio Davis only cost $14 million for half a season, but thankfully the Knicks also got Eddy Curry in the deal.
Travis Knight (2000-2003)
Sometimes you just wonder how some guys make it to the NBA.
Here is another typical Knicks decline—Knight scores 1,100 total in his first four years with the L.A. Lakers and Boston Celtics, then less than 200 in his final three seasons with the Knicks (at $14 million).
The seven-footer tried hard to achieve a .189 shooting percentage his first year in New York.
Jerome James (2005-2009)
Surely, most average Knicks fans don't even know who Jerome James is.
Let's keep it that way.
Somehow the Chicago Bulls helped the Knicks out of their $30 million mess with a rescue trade that cut New York's bill in half.
James did have a 1.000 shooting percentage in the two games he played in 2007-08, though.
Larry Brown (2005-2006)
It happens with coaches, too.
Yes, Larry Brown has had his ups and downs over his 45-plus years of pro basketball coaching.
Brown was just off one of those ups with the Detroit Pistons—winning it all in 2004 and winning the East in 2005.
Then he came to the Knicks and went 23-59 (fourth-worst record in Knicks history) in another Isiah Thomas-inspired soap opera.
The Knicks and Brown settled for somewhere in the seven-figure range to get rid of the coach.
After a two-year layoff, Brown came back and stunk it up coaching the Charlotte Hornets.
Herb Williams (1992-1999)
Charity begins at home.
Herb Williams is like a part of the furniture at the Garden.
He didn't play his whole career for the Knicks, but he lingered on like a life support patient so long that it seemed like he did.
But Williams didn't even get to the Knicks until he was 34. He's been associated with the team as a player and coach since 1992 and is a fan favorite still today.
As a player, Herb lingered on the floor until he was 40 and admittedly was cheap—about $8 million for his whole Knicks career.
You get what you pay for, but maybe New York could have done a little better?
Jared Jeffries (2006-2010, 2011)
Jared Jeffries already has been a former Knick in his career and will again be once the lockout is lifted.
Jeffries' under-the-basket gaffe in Game 2 against the Boston Celtics ranks with Charles Smith's under-the-basket one in Game 5 against the Chicago Bulls in 1993. Memorable.
Jeffries cannot play offense. He's cost the team over $16 million in his two campaigns in New York.
Kenny Walker (1986-1991)
Kenny "Sky" Walker won the 1989 Slam Dunk Contest.
Very nifty, but he wasn't all that much as a Knick and faded quickly from fifth pick of the draft to fifth-year dud.
Scott Layden (1999-2003)
Scott Layden oversaw the end of the Ewing era.
The Knicks made it to the Finals in Layden's first year as GM—then it was all downhill.
Here's a sample of Layden's moves:
Traded: Patrick Ewing, Marcus Camby, Nene Hilario, Jeff Van Gundy
Acquired: Travis Knight, Luc Longley, Shandon Anderson, Antonio McDyess, Keith Van Horn
Isiah Thomas (2003-2008)
And the biggest turkey of them all.
Let's take a look at Thomas' moves—not the ones he laid on Anucha Browne Sanders, but the ones he pulled as President of Basketball Operations. You know, the ones that crippled the franchise for five years and more.
In either case, not for the children:
Traded: Multiple first- and second-round picks
Acquired: Penny Hardaway, Stephon Marbury, Jamal Crawford, Malik Rose, Steve Francis, Eddy Curry, Antonio Davis
Signed: Jerome James, Jared Jeffries.
That's half this whole list if you include Zeke!