11 Player signings the New York Knicks never should’ve made

Carmelo Anthony, Amar'e Stoudemire, Knicks. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Carmelo Anthony, Amar'e Stoudemire, Knicks. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images) /
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Throughout the history of the NBA, the New York Knicks have had the benefit of using “The Big Apple” to attract free agents. Well, kind of. New York’s current roster is heavily comprised of players acquired through free agency. The two All-Stars — Jalen Brunson and Julius Randle — each elected to join the Knicks after their respective contracts with the Mavericks and Pelicans expired.

Even this summer, the Knicks were able to land Donte DiVincenzo from the Golden State Warriors to help further boost their roster.

Despite having New York City in their corner as a draw for free agents, this past season’s Knicks team was the first competitive one for quite some time (excluding the weird 2020-21 season where they fell to the Atlanta Hawks in the playoffs).

Since the 2000-01 season, New York has made the playoffs just six times. This past season, they won their first playoff series since 2013, marking the second time they’ve advanced past the opening round during the same window.

A big reason for their lack of success in recent years has been because of some questionable financial decisions (and also that players kind of hate team owner James Dolan — even though he just built a super-cool Sphere in Las Vegas!). In the NBA — especially in today’s league — spending the salary cap wisely is a vital part of a team’s success.

11 player signings the New York Knicks never should’ve made

11. New York Knicks sign Kemba Walker in 2021

In the summer of 2021, the New York Knicks signed Kemba Walker to a two-year, $18 million contract. The former All-Star was coming off his second season as a member of the division-rival Boston Celtics when he was traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder — who eventually waived him.

At the time, the Walker signing seemed like a great move. The Knicks would get a former All-NBA level point guard on a discount deal, and they’d be sticking it to the Celtics — who, at the time, were absolutely finished, according to Knicks Twitter.

The previous season, the former UConn star averaged 19.3 points, 4.9 assists, and 4.0 rebounds per game, shooting 42.0% from the field and 36% from beyond the arc. The catch was that Walker had been battling a lingering knee issue for the better part of two seasons. He’d played in just 43 of Boston’s 72 games in the 2020-21 campaign.

His numbers with the Knicks were almost unrecognizable. Walker’s scoring average dropped to 11.6 points per game, his efficiency took a dip, and he wasn’t able to defend as a smaller guard. He wound up suiting up just 37 times for New York before the team decided to shut him down in February.

By the summer of 2022, Walker’s time with the Knicks came to a close when he was traded to the Detroit Pistons as part of a three-team draft night deal. New York had to sacrifice draft capital to offload the hobbled guard but wound up using the move to open space for Brunson.