It is not easy to select just ten out of what seems like hundreds of poor decisions made by our Knickerbockers, especially considering the last decade. You might be inclined to change the title of this from worst moves in franchise history to worst moves in James Dolan history, because they essentially means the same thing. Here we go:
10. Hiring Larry Brown: In 2005 Brown was given a 5-year, 50 million dollar contract to help revitalize The Knicks. He ended up going 23-59 in his only season with the team, and was subsequently fired.
9. Trading Marcus Camby, Mark Jackson, and Nene: In 2002, The Knicks traded Camby, Jackson, and Nene in exchange for Antonio McDyess, Frank Williams, and a second round pick (Maciej Lampe). Camby went on to earn a Defensive Player of the Year award and Nene ended up on the All-Rookie First Team. On the other hand, McDyess, Williams, and Lampe barely lasted for 2 seasons, and helped the Knicks to continue avoiding the playoffs.
8. Signing Allan Houston to a max contract: In 2001, The Knicks and Houston agreed to a contract that paid him over 20 million dollars a year. Houston would barely be able to play any games under that contract due to his serious knee problems over the next four years, and in 2005 he announced his retirement. You can’t blame Houston, but the Knicks giving a 30 year old such a huge contract was a risk that resulted in restricted cap space throughout the first half of the 2000’s.
7. Trading Patrick Ewing: In 2000, Patrick Ewing was nearing the end of his contract, and the Knicks could not reach terms for extending their aging center. Stories differ that Ewing requested his trade or that the Knicks pushed him out, but the result was trading away an 18 million dollar expiring contract for bad contracts that would continue to hamper them from signing free agents through the first half of the decade.
6. Signing Jerome James: Are you kidding me? Jerome James was signed to a 5 year, 30 million dollar contract by Isiah Thomas. James supposedly deserved this contract due to his better than average play in the playoffs the previous season. In his 4 seasons with the Knicks, he played in a whopping 90 games, and was traded away for Larry Hughes in 2009.
5. Drafting Jordan Hill: I know this sounds crazy, but I partly blame this rare poor decision by Donnie Walsh for Lebron James not coming to the Knicks. The Knicks chose Hill over Brandon Jennings, yes you read that correctly. Jennings would be the best point guard this team has had all decade, but instead we took half a season of Jordan Hill. Many said that Lebron did not want to have the pressure of leading the Knicks all by himself, but could you imagine a trio of Jennings, Stoudemire, and Lebron? Not to mention that Jennings would have still been on his rookie contract, and therefore we could have filled the roster with great talent! I dream on, but still no one can deny that Jordan Hill was a big bust.
4. Acquiring for Eddy Curry: The Knicks gave up a couple draft picks, but in case you don’t know who they turned out to be let me enlighten you: LaMarcus Aldridge and Joakim Noah! As a fan you may be able to live with that, if Eddy Curry did not turn out to be a bloated player with a bloated contract. He did not rebound or defend, and ended up playing almost no games once Mike D’antoni took over in 2008, while still earning 13 million dollars a year.
3. Trading for Stephon Marbury: There is not that much to say, because everyone knows why this was a bad move for the Knicks. He was a selfish and temperamental star. His feud with Larry Brown contributed to Brown’s firing, while his feud with Mike D’antoni resulted in Marbury’s firing. After a few years in New York, Stephon Marbury’s career ended up much like his shoes–falling apart.
2. The coming of Isiah Thomas: His terrible contracts, his atrocious draft picks, and his poor trading decisions got him to number 2 on this list. He is responsible for Steve Francis, Ronaldo Balkman, Jared Jefferies, Fred Jones, Jerome James, and many many more terrible players getting a chance to play for an NBA team. How would someone like this keep his job for so long? Well, you become best friends with your boss of course! James Dolan and Thomas are famously friends, and it has long been rumored that Thomas is still pulling strings behind closed doors. Which brings us to…
1. Viacom selling MSG properties to Cablevision and ITT Corporation: This was the move in 1994, that ultimately led to what may be the worst day in Knicks History, because 2 years after Cablevision bought out ITT in 1997, James Dolan was made the Chairman of Madison Square Garden. I want you to scroll up to the top of this article, and read # 10 – #2 again, because these were all under Dolan’s supervision. In a world where Viacom sells the Knicks to ANYONE ELSE, all of the above would erased. James Dolan continues to make mistakes even with the newfound success of the team. Two years ago he traded everyone and their brother to Denver for Carmelo Anthony, and this summer he paid player after player to come to the Knicks before deciding that signing Jeremy Lin would be too much money.