The New York Knicks have not exactly been the NBA’s shining example of competent front-office management over the past few decades. A team whose best moments came from a combination of savvy transactions and developing premier talent has stumbled quite a bit, too.
In particular, the Knicks have often been too quick to move on from young players. Always chasing the next few wins, they have sent young guns packing in order to add veterans again and again. That’s something many teams are guilty of, but the Knicks have some really standout examples as well, dating all the way back to the very beginning.
Let’s look at nine players the New York Knicks gave up on too soon, starting with a recent example.
9. Tim Hardaway Jr.
The New York Knicks drafted Tim Hardaway Jr. in 2013, adding the son of the Hall of Fame point guard Tim Hardaway they battled with in the 1990s when Hardaway was on the Miami Heat. Hardaway the younger got off to a solid start, averaging double-digit points as a rookie and landing on an All-Rookie Team.
Things soured quickly, however, as Hardaway had a less efficient sophomore season. The Knicks flipped Hardaway to the Atlanta Hawks for the pick that became Jerian Grant, a point guard who would be out of the league within five years. Hardaway went on to have a breakout fourth season…leading the Knicks to drop a significant free agent offer sheet to claw him away from the Hawks!
If they had simply kept Hardaway in town, they would have had the leverage of being able to match an offer sheet, not dropping in trade kickers and a player option and a high salary. The Knicks eventually sent Hardaway away yet again in the Kristaps Porzingis deal, and he proceeded to have another career year in Dallas.