1946/47: On June 6th a group of 11 franchises formed the Basketball Association of America in a meeting at New York’s Commodore Hotel. Named after a style of pants worn by the Dutch settlers who landed in New York in the 1600’s, the Knickerbockers face the Huskies in the league’s first game on November 1st in Toronto’s historic Maple Leaf Gardens. The Knicks, as they will become more well known, win that inaugural game 68-66, followed by winning 10 of their first 12 games. However, the Knicks would play mediocre basketball down the stretch, finishing in 3rd place with a 33-27 record. In the playoffs the Knicks overcome a 26-point loss in Game 1 to beat the Cleveland Rebels in a three-game series. However, in the semifinals the Knicks would be swept in 2 straight by the Philadelphia Warriors.
1947/48: The Knickerbockers fall one game short of the division title posting a record of 26-22 in their 2nd season. However, in the playoffs the Knicks stumble as they are beaten by the Baltimore Bullets in a 3-game series.
1948/49: In their third season the Knickerbockers remain a playoff contender finishing in 2nd place with a record of 32-28. In the playoffs the Knicks get a measure of revenge by beating the Baltimore Bullets in a three-game tussle. However, in the Eastern Finals the Knicks fall in a 3-game battle with Washington Capitols.
1949/50: The BAA absorbs the rival National Basketball League to form the NBA, as ten Knickerbockers finish in 2nd place with a 40-28. In the playoffs the Knicks beat the Washington Capitols in two straight. However, in the Eastern Finals the Knicks fall to the Syracuse Nationals in a three-game series.
1950/51: Former Harlem Globetrotter star Nathaniel “Sweetwater” Clifton joins the Knickerbockers as one of the first black players in the NBA. Clifton sees significant playing time as the Knicks make the playoffs again with a record of 36-30, finishing in 3rd place. In the playoffs the Knickerbockers stun the Boston Celtics in two straight to reach their 4th East Final in five years. After failing to reach the League finals on their first three attempts the Knicks finally break through by beating the Syracuse Nationals in a hard fought five-game series. In the finals the Knicks hit a wall as they quickly find themselves down 3-0 against the Rochester Royals. However the Knicks don’t go down without a fight winning the next three to force a decisive 7th game. In Game 7 the Knicks fall four points short of becoming the first team to rally from a 0-3 deficit, losing 79-75.
1951/52: Led by Harry Gallatin and Dick McGuire the Knickerbockers battle all season for first place before falling just three games short, posting a 37-29 record for a 3rd place finish. However, come the playoffs the Knicks get revenge by stunning the Boston Celtics in a three-game series, winning the decisive 3rd game 88-87 in double overtime. In the East Finals the Knickerbockers continue to roll, beating the Syracuse Nationals in four games. However in the finals the Knicks again come up one game short as they fall to the Minneapolis Lakers in a seven-game battle that sees each team alternate victories.
1952/53: The Knickerbockers capture their first Division title by posting a solid record of 47-23. In the playoffs the Knicks continue to dominate the East. They shoot down the Baltimore Bullets in two straight, then beat the Boston Celtics in four games to reach their 3rd straight NBA Finals. In the Finals the Knickerbockers get off to a fast start as they capture Game 1 of their rematch against the Minneapolis Lakers. However, the Knicks season ends in disappointment again as the Lakers capture the NBA Title with four straight wins.
1953/54: The Knickerbockers win their 2nd straight Eastern Division Title by posting a solid record of 44-28 while Henry Gallatin captures the NBA rebounding title. However, under a round robin playoff format the Knicks lose out, dropping two games each to the Syracuse Nationals and Boston Celtics.
1954/55: The Knickerbockers fall five games short of their 3rd Straight Division title by posting a record of 38-34. In the playoffs the Knicks are tripped up in the first round by the Boston Celtics in a three-game series.
1955/56: The Knickerbockers fail to make the playoffs for the first time in their ten year existence. They finish in last place with a record of 35-37, losing out in a tie-breaker to the Syracuse Nationals that would have gotten them into 3rd place and the playoffs.
1956/57: The Knickerbockers end up with the short straw as they finish in last place for the 2nd straight season despite posting a 36-36 record.
1957/58: Despite leading the league with 112.1 ppg the Knickerbockers miss the playoffs and finish in last place for the 3rd straight season with a record of 35-37.
1958/59: On December 11th Richie Guerin scores 57 points against the Syracuse Nationals, becoming the first Knickerbocker to score 50 points in a game. The Knicks go on to end a three-year slump by finishing in 2nd place with a record of 40-32. However, in the playoffs the Knickerbockers lose two straight to the Nationals.
1959/60: Despite averaging a franchise best 117.3 ppg the Knickerbockers miss the playoffs for the 4th time in five years by finishing in last place with a record of 27-48.
1960/61: The Knickerbockers defensive woes continue as they struggle all season to post a record of 21-58. Along the way the Knicks allow 71 points to Los Angeles Lakers star Elgin Baylor establishing a single game record. Also on Christmas the Knicks lose by 62 to the Syracuse Nationals, a franchise worst loss.
1961/62: The Knickerbockers find themselves on the wrong end of history again on March 2nd in Hershey, PA, as Wilt Chamberlain of the Philadelphia Warriors becomes the first and only player to score 100 points in a NBA game. The Knicks go on to finish in last place again with a record of 29-51.
1962/63: The Knickerbockers continue to struggle as they finish in last place for the 4th straight season with a miserable record of 21-59.
1963/64: The Knickerbockers continue to be the worst team in the NBA as they finish in last place for the 5th straight season with a record of 22-58.
1964/65: Hoping to change the organization, the Knickerbockers introduce a new logo featuring the shortened name Knicks over a basketball. However, the biggest move is drafting center Willis Reed from Grambling. Reed makes an immediate impact, capturing NBA Rookie of the Year honors. However, the Knicks still finish in last place although their 31-49 record was a noticeable improvement.
1965/66: The Knicks, unable to build off their ten-game improvement, tread water to finish in last place for the 7th straight season with a 30-50 record.
1966/67: Thanks to the expansion and an expanded playoffs, the Knicks end a seven-year playoff drought by finishing in 4th place with a record of 36-45. However, in the playoffs it’s a quick exit as the Knicks are bounced in four games by the Boston Celtics.
1967/68: The Knicks host the All-Star Game, which includes Willis Reed and Dick Barnett, as they open the modern Madison Square Garden just 17 blocks south of the old building. Despite the All-Stars, the Knicks continue to struggle under Coach Dick McGuire, getting off to a 15-22 start. However, when Red Holzman replaces McGuire in the middle of the season, the Knicks begin to play to their full potential. They post a 28-17 record down the stretch to finish in 3rd place with a 43-39 mark on the season. In the playoffs, the young Knicks fall to Philadelphia 76ers in six games.
1968/69: The Knicks get off to a slow start again, posting a 10-14 record, causing them to decide to acquire Dave DeBusschere from the Detroit Pistons for Walt Bellamy and Howard Komives. DeBusschere makes his former team pay right away as the Knicks beat the Pistons 135-87 the day after the deal. The win is the spark for a ten-game winning streak. The Knicks also put together an 11-game winning streak later as they battle for the Eastern Division title. The Knicks end up three games short, posting a solid record of 54-28. In the playoffs the Knicks make some noise as they stun the Baltimore Bullets in four straight. However, facing the veteran Boston Celtics in the Eastern Finals the Knicks are taken to school, losing in six games.
1969/70: The Knicks come flying out of the gate, winning 19 of their first 20 games, including a then record 18-straight. Their franchise best 60-22 record earns them their first division title in 16 years, while Willis Reed gets honored as MVP. In the playoffs the Knicks find themselves in a tight battle right away, needing seven games to beat the Baltimore Bullets. The Knicks find things easier in the Eastern Finals as it only takes five games to beat a Milwaukee Buck team led by New York school legend Lew Alcindor (who would eventually change his name to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar). In the Finals the Knicks face the Los Angeles Lakers, winning Game 1 at the Garden before tripping up in Game 2 and losing by two points. The Knicks rebound in Game 3 overcoming a half court shot by Jerry West that sends the game to overtime. However, the series is tied up again by the Lakers who capture Game 4 in overtime. In Game 5, back at the Garden, the Knicks win 107-100, but their chances of winning the Championship appear to take hit when Willis Reed suffers a leg injury along the way. Without Reed in Game 6, the Knicks are dominated in LA by Wilt Chamberlain and the Lakers, losing 135-113. Game 7 would be back in New York on May 8th, and the discussion was would Reed play or not? Moments before the game the question is answered as Reed limps on to the court before tip-off in his warm-ups, causing the Garden to erupt. Reed scores the first two baskets of the game, giving his team a shot in the arm. The two baskets are the only ones Reed scores in the decisive 7th game, but his emotional presence alone is enough to earn the Knicks a Championship with a 113-99 win and him the Finals MVP.
1970/71: The NBA divides into four divisions. The Knicks capture the first Atlantic Division title with a record of 52-30. The Knicks continue their strong defense behind stars like Walt Frazier, considered one of the best on the ball defenders of all time. In the playoffs the Knicks easily beat the Atlanta Hawks in five games. However, in the Eastern Finals the Knicks are stunned by the Baltimore Bullets in seven games, losing Game 7 at home 93-91.
1971/72: The Knicks, after being shot down by the Baltimore Bullets the previous season, improve themselves in an early season trade by acquiring one of the Bullets’ top players, Earl “the Pearl” Monroe, for Mike Riordan and Dave Stallworth. Monroe is a consummate showman, a flashy ball handler, and an imaginative shot maker who popularized the reverse-spin move on the dribble. However, his initial effect on the team is iffy as he has problems adjusting to the more defensive and pass-orientated Knicks. As the season winds down, the Pearl begins to find his place on the team and they finish in 2nd place with a 48-34 record. In the playoffs Monroe makes the Bullets pay by beating them in six games. In the Eastern Finals the Knicks continue to roll as they beat the Boston Celtics in five games. Facing the Los Angels Lakers in the Finals, the Knicks take Game 1 in LA, 114-92. However, the Lakers, who won a then record 69 regular season games, rebound to win the next four games.
1972/73: Despite a stellar 57-25 record the Knicks fall 11 games short of an Atlantic Division Title, as the Boston Celtics posted an impressive 68-14 record. In the playoffs the Knicks easily shoot down the Baltimore Bullets in 5 games, setting up an Eastern Conference Finals match up with the Celtics. The Kicks get off to a fast start winning three straight after dropping Game 1 to take a 3-1 series lead. However, after a one-point loss in Game 5 and a home loss in Game 6, the Eastern Title appears to be slipping away as the Knicks need to win Game 7 in Boston. However, the Knicks rise to the occasion, shutting down the Celtics 94-78 with their tenacious D. Facing the Los Angels Lakers in the Finals again the Knicks drop Game 1 by three points. However, in a reversal of last year, the Knicks rally to win the next four games and their 2nd NBA Championship, holding the Lakers under 100 points in all four, while Willis Reed out duels Wilt Chamberlain again to win the Finals MVP.
1973/74: Coming off their 2nd NBA Championship the Knicks continue to dominate the NBA with their stingy defense, posting a 49-33 record and finishing in 2nd place. In the playoffs the Knicks need seven games to knock off the Capitol Bullets. The tussle with the Bullets weakens the Knicks, who fall to the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Finals in six games. Following the season Willis Reed stuns the Knicks by announcing his retirement.
1974/75: Without Willis Reed the Knicks struggle to post a 40-42 record, finishing in 3rd place. Despite their first losing record in 8 years, the Knicks make the playoffs as the NBA expand the postseason again. In the playoffs the Knicks lose a three-game series to the Houston Rockets.
1975/76: The Knicks miss the playoffs for the first time in nine years, falling into the Atlantic Division cellar with a record of 38-44.
1976/77: The Knicks continue to struggle as they miss the playoffs for the 2nd straight season, finishing in 3rd place with a record of 40-42. Following the season Coach Red Holzman is fired and replaced by former MVP and playoff hero, Willis Reed.
1977/78: As Willis Reed takes over as Coach, the Knicks are a team in transition: Walt Frazier is traded and Bill Bradley retires for a career in politics. However, with the addition of Bob McAdoo, who at 26.5 ppg finishes as the league’s 3rd best scorer, the Knicks end a two-year playoff drought, posting a 43-39 record good enough for 2nd place. In the playoffs the Knicks sweep the Cleveland Cavaliers in two straight before being swept by the Philadelphia 76ers in four.
1978/79: After a 6-8 start, Willis Reed is fired and Red Holzman is brought back. However, not even Holzman can stop the Knicks skid as they post a 31-51 record while finishing in 4th place.
1979/80: Second year Guard Michael Ray Richardson has a breakout season, leading the NBA in assists and steals. However, the Knicks miss the playoffs for the 4th time in five years, losing out by a tiebreaker, while finishing in 4th place with a record of 39-43.
1980/81: Michael Ray Richardson continues to establish himself as one of the top guards in the NBA as the Knicks overachieve all season to finish in 3rd place with a solid 50-32 record. However, in the playoffs the Knicks are stunned in two straight by the Chicago Bulls.
1981/82: “The ship be sinking” so stated Michael Ray Richardson who, after rising to All-Star status, struggles all seasons, dealing with drug addiction. It would be the end of Richardson’s Knicks career as the team plummets to last place, posting a 33-49 record. It would also mark the end of Red Holzman’s coaching career, who retires at the end of the season with 613 career wins. The Knicks would later retire the number 613 in his honor.
1982/83: The Knicks rebound under new Coach Hubble Brown. Bill Cartwright establishes himself as a presence in the middle during a 44-38 season in which the team finishes in 4th place, making the playoffs. In the playoffs the Knicks beat the New Jersey Nets in two straight before being swept by the Philadelphia 7ers in four straight.
1983/84: Bernard King, acquired in the Michael Ray Richardson deal a year earlier, has the year of a lifetime, averaging 26.3 ppg (good for 5th in the league), highlighted by back to back 50 point games on January 31st and February 1st. Led by King’s scoring touch the Knicks finish in 3rd place with a record of 47-35. In the playoffs King averages 42.6 ppg as the Knicks beat the Detroit Pistons in a grueling five-game series. The classic Game 5 is a duel between King and the Pistons’ Isiah Thomas, as both players top 40 points in a tight overtime battle. In the 2nd round, the Knicks give the eventual Champion Boston Celtics all they can handle before falling in seven games.
1984/85: Bernard King continues to be the Knicks biggest star, leading the league in scoring and setting a franchise record with 60 points in a Christmas Day game against the New Jersey Nets. However, despite King’s 32.9 ppg the Knicks struggle all season. The struggles worsen on March 23rd when Bernard King suffers a devastating knee injury. The Knicks go on to lose their final 12 games without King, finishing in last place with a 24-58 record. However, the team’s end of the year struggles have a silver lining as they win the first ever draft lottery, enabling them to snag Georgetown star Patrick Ewing.
1985/86: Patrick Ewing arrives with much hoopla, leading all rookies in scoring and rebounding to win Rookie of the Year. However, Ewing misses 32 games, while Bernard King is lost for the entire season. The Knicks finish in last place again with a 23-59 record.
1986/87: The Knicks continue to struggle as Bernard King finally makes his return near the end of a season in which the Knicks finish last for the 3rd straight year with a record of 24-58. It’s clear King is not the same player he was before he blew out his knee. Following the season, he is released, and the Knicks draft St. John’s star, Mark Jackson.
1987/88: With a young team led by Patrick Ewing and eventual Rookie of the Year Mark Jackson, the Knicks feel they need a young energetic coach. They hire Rick Pitino who had led Providence to the Final Four. The move works as the Knicks make a 14-game improvement, finishing in 3rd place with a 38-44 record, getting them into the playoffs as the 8th seed. However, in the playoffs the young Knicks fall to the Boston Celtics in four games.
1988/89: Prior to the season, in order to give Patrick Ewing some rebounding help, the Knicks trade Bill Cartwright to acquire Charles Oakley from the Chicago Bulls. Led by a 26-game home winning streak the Knicks, win their first Division title in 18 years, posting a solid record of 52-30. In the playoffs the Knicks make quick work of the Philadelphia 76ers sweeping them in three straight. However, in the 2nd round the Knicks are frustrated by Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls, falling in six games.
1989/90: Prior to the season, Coach Rick Pitino stuns the Knicks by suddenly quitting to take over the coaching reins at the University of Kentucky. Under his replacement, Stu Jackson, the Knicks finish in 3rd place with a record of 45-37. In the playoffs the Knicks appear to be heading for a quick exit as they drop their first two games to the Boston Celtics. However, the Knicks rally and win the next three games to stun the aging Celtics in five. However, in the 2nd round the Knicks are beaten by the Detroit Pistons four games to one.
1990/91: The Knicks, seeming to lack leadership, replace Coach Stu Jackson with John MacLeod. They struggle all season, posting a disappointing record of 39-43. Despite their sub-.500 record, they still sneak into the playoffs, but they are no match for the Chicago Bulls who sweep them in three.
1991/92: To help get the team back on track, Pat Riley is hired as coach in the off-season. Riley has an instant impact, establishing a strong defensive system. The Knicks finish with a 51-31 record, only losing the Division by a tiebreaker. In the playoffs the Knicks knock off the Detroit Pistons in five games before facing the Chicago Bulls. The Knicks frustrate the Bulls and Michael Jordan with their physical play before falling in seven games. However, along the way a new rivalry was born.
1992/93: To help get them past the two-time NBA champion Chicago Bulls, the Knicks trade Mark Jackson to the Los Angeles Clippers for Charles Smith, Doc Rivers, and Bo Kimble, while also acquiring Rolando Blackman from the Dallas Mavericks. All season the Knicks look on track for the NBA Finals as they post a 60-22 record, equaling the franchise best mark set by the 1969/70 Championship team. In the playoffs the Knicks make quick work of the Indiana Pacers beating them in four games, followed by taking down the Charlotte Hornets in five, setting up their much anticipated Eastern Finals match with the Chicago Bulls. As the Bulls deal with gambling rumors surrounding Michael Jordan, the Knicks get off to a fast start, winning the first two games at the Garden. However, when the series shifts to Chicago, the Bulls rebound to take the next two games. Needing a win in Game 5, the Knicks, back at the Garden, have multiple chances in the final seconds. Charles Smith is rejected at the basket on four attempts before the ball is swatted down court for a fastbreak, giving the Bulls a 97-94 win. Needing a win in Chicago to force Game 7, the Knicks are foiled again by Jordan and the Bulls who go on to a 3rd straight Championship.
1993/94: With the retirement of Michael Jordan, the Knicks are widely considered the heir to the throne. Despite the loss of Doc Rivers to a knee injury in December the Knicks appear to be on track for a championship all season. They acquire Derek Harper from the Dallas Mavericks to fill the void left by Rivers en route to winning their 2nd straight Division title with a 57-25 record. In the playoffs the Knicks make quick work of the New Jersey Nest, beating them in four games, to set up a match up with the Chicago Bulls. Despite the retirement of Jordan, the Knicks need seven hard fought games to barely advance to the Eastern Finals. In the Eastern Finals against the Indiana Pacers, the Knicks are again given all they can handle. The Pacers take a 3-2 series lead with a stunning Game 5 win on the Garden’s floor, featuring Reggie Miller mocking Knicks’ super fan Spike Lee. However, Lee and the Knicks have the last laugh as the Knicks come back to claim the last two games and advance to the NBA Finals. In the finals, the Knicks face the Houston Rockets and star center Hakeem Olajuwon. After splitting the first 2 games in Houston, the Knicks lose Game 3 at home, finding themselves on the verge of a 3-1 hole should they lose Game Four. However, the Rangers, who won the Stanley Cup in-between games, come out for inspiration in Game Four, and the Knicks even the series. Even with fans peering up at the scoreboard during Game Five to watch the live O.J. Simpson police chase, the Knicks keep their focus, beating the Rockets to take a 3-2 series lead and needing to win just one game in Houston for the NBA Championship. However, that win never comes as John Starks misses a wide open shot that would have won Game 6, then misses 17 shots in Game 7.
1994/95: The Knicks continue to play solid basketball as they post a 55-27 record despite finishing in 2nd place. In the playoffs the Knicks dispatch the Cleveland Cavaliers in four games before facing the Indiana Pacers in the 2nd Round. The Knicks get off to a horrible start in their rematch with the Pacers as Reggie Miller scores eight points in the final 16 seconds to stun the Knicks, who seemingly had a safe five point lead. The Pacers go on to grab a 3-1 series edge, before the Knicks come alive, winning two straight to force a 7th game at the Garden. Down by one point in the final seconds Patrick Ewing has a chance to give the Knicks a win, but his driving lay-up rims out as the Pacers advance to the Eastern Conference Finals. Following the season, the Knicks are stunned again when Pat Riley quits to coach the Miami Heat.
1995/96: To replace Pat Riley the Knicks hire Don Nelson. However, the team never seems to gel under him, and he’s replaced mid-season by long time assistant Jeff Van Gundy. Under Van Gundy the Knicks finish the season winning 13 of their final 22 to post a 47-35 record, good for a 2nd place finish. In the playoffs the Knicks sweep the Cleveland Cavaliers again in three games. However, in the 2nd round the Knicks are dominated in five games by an old foe, the Chicago Bulls, lead by Michael Jordan who had returned a season earlier.
1996/97: With the addition of Larry Johnson, Allan Houston, Chris Childs and Buck Williams to complement veterans Patrick Ewing, John Starks and Charles Oakley, the Knicks are revitalized. They post a 57-24 record, falling four games short in a battle for the division title with Pat Riley’s Miami Heat. In the playoffs the Knicks swat the Charlotte Hornets away, sweeping them in three, to set up a 2nd round battle with the Heat. The Knicks dominant the Heat early on, taking a 3-1 series lead. However, late in a Game 5 loss, an altercation breaks out between Charlie Ward and Heat sub P.J. Brown. Several Knicks, including Patrick Ewing and Larry Johnson, leave the bench, resulting in so many suspensions that they need to be staggered over the remaining two games in the series. The undermanned Knicks lose those final two games, and Miami advances.
1997/98: The Knicks get off to a 15-11 start, but when Patrick Ewing shatters his left wrist, the season looks like it’ll go down the drain. With Ewing out the rest of the regular season, the Knicks scrape and claw their way into the playoffs with a 43-39 record. Facing the Miami Heat in the first round, the Knicks find themselves down 2-1, needing a Game 4 win to force a 5th game. As the Knicks are sealing the game on the free throw line, Larry Johnson gets into a fight with Heat star center Alonzo Mourning. During the fight, which leads to Johnson and Mourning being suspended for Game 5, Jeff Van Gundy does all he can to break up the scuffle, but ends up infamously riding on Mourning’s leg like a dog in heat. With the Heat missing Mourning, the Knicks dominate Game Five in Miami to get revenge for the previous year. However, in the 2nd round the Knicks fall to the Indiana Pacers in Game Five, despite a surprising early return from Patrick Ewing.
1998/99: Delayed by a four-month lockout that wipes out half the season, the Knicks open with some new members. Latrell Sprewell is acquired from the Golden State Warriors for John Starks, Chris Mills and Terry Cummings, while Charles Oakley is dealt to the Toronto Raptors for Marcus Camby. However, the new team has trouble gelling, and Patrick Ewing struggles with injuries, playing most of the season with an injured Achilles tendon. They barely make the playoffs with a record of 27-23. However, once the playoffs start, it’s a different story as the 8th seeded Knicks battle the top seeded Miami Heat in another classic series. After splitting the first four games, the Knicks trail Game Five 77-76 with 4.5 seconds left. With .5 remaining on the clock, Alan Houston banks in a desperation shot to give the Knicks a 78-77 win. Spurred on by their dramatic win, during the second round the Knicks sweep the Atlanta Hawks in four. In the Eastern Conference Finals against the Indiana Pacers the Knicks appear to be heading for disaster when Patrick Ewing is forced to the sideline after discovering his Achilles tendon is partly torn. However, with Marcus Camby rising to the occasion, the Knicks manage to keep Game 3 close. During the closing seconds, Larry Johnson is fouled while making a three-point shot, resulting in a miraculous four-point play for the win. The miracle shot spurs the Knicks on, as they stun the Pacers in six games. However, Johnson himself is slowed by a knee injury in Game 6, limiting his effectiveness during the Finals. The Knicks are overmatched by the San Antonio Spurs who easily win the Championship in five games.
1999/00: The Knicks build off their trip to the Finals by posting a solid 50-32 record, good enough for 2nd place, despite Patrick Ewing being limited by his nagging injuries. In the playoffs the Knicks make quick work of the Toronto Raptors, sweeping them in three straight. Facing the Miami Heat for the 4th year in a row, the Knicks emerge victorious in seven rough and tumble games. However, in the Eastern Conference Finals rematch with the Indiana Pacers, the Knicks are beaten in six games. Following the season, the Patrick Ewing era comes to an end as he is traded in a three-team deal, sending him to the Seattle Supersonics for Glen Rice, Luc Longley and Travis Knight.
2000/01: In their first season without Patrick Ewing, the Knicks remain a perennial playoff contender despite not getting any worthwhile contributions from the three players acquired in the Ewing deal. The Knicks finish in 3rd place with a 48-34 record, earning the 4th seed in the playoffs. However, in the playoffs they are beaten by the Toronto Raptors in five games, failing to advance to the 2nd round for the first time in ten years.
2001/02: The Knicks get off to a shaky start, posting a 10-9 record, when Coach Jeff Van Gundy suddenly resigns. Under his replacement, Don Chaney, the bottom falls out as the Knicks win just 20 of their final 63 games, missing the playoffs for the first time in 15 years and finishing in last place with an awful 30-52 record. In an attempt to change the struggling team’s fortunes in the off-season, Marcus Camby, who missed most of the season due to injury, is traded to the Denver Nuggets for Antonio McDyess.
2002/03: The Knicks hopes for a rebound season take a hit before the season even starts when it’s determined Antonio McDyess needs knee surgery and will be lost for the entire season. With Latrell Sprewell missing most of the first month of the season, the Knicks get off to a terrible start. They lose their first four games, and win just one of their first nine games. Sprewell returns and they play solid basketball, but the Knicks never recover from their slow start. For the second year in a row, they’re a non-factor in the race for a playoff spot, finishing tied for 5th place with a record of 37-45. Frustrated Knicks fans call for GM Scott Layden to lose his job. During the off-season the Knicks continue to retool, trading Sprewell to the Minnesota Timberwolves in a three-team deal that lands them Keith Van Horn.
2003/04: The Knicks get off to another dreadful start winning just three of their first nine games as fans at the Garden chant, “Fire Layden.” The fans get their wish on December 2nd when Layden is fired and replaced by Isiah Thomas. Immediately Thomas works to make the 10-18 Knicks better, right away acquiring Brooklyn high school legend Stephon Marbury from the Phoenix Suns. The Knicks still struggle with Marbury, so Thomas fires Coach Don Chaney, replacing him with the NBA’s all-time winningest coach, Lenny Wilkens, a former New York baller himself. The move begins to work out as the Knicks climb towards playoff contention. Not satisfied, Isiah makes more moves at the trading deadline, shipping Keith Van Horn to the Milwaukee Bucks for Tim Thomas, while adding size with Nazr Mohammed from the Atlanta Hawks. The retooled Knicks make the playoffs with a record of 39-43. However, they make a quick exit, getting swept in four by the New Jersey Nets.
2004/05: After their strong finish to make the playoffs, the Knicks start the season by playing inconsistent basketball, holding a 16-13 record at the end of December. However, once the new year begins, the bottom falls out. The Knicks win just two of 15 games in January, resulting in Coach Lenny Wilkens being fired and replaced by assistant Herb Williams. Under Williams, the Knicks don’t fare much better, ending up tied for last place in the Atlantic Division with a terrible 33-49 record. In the off-season the Knicks completely retool again, hiring Hall of Fame vagabond coach Larry Brown, a Brooklyn Native known for building teams into playoff contender. The Knicks also roll the dice, taking a chance by signing the Chicago Bulls’ Eddy Curry, a solid young player with a heart ailment. In addition they draft Channing Frye and Nate Robinson to form a young nucleus.
2005/06: When the season begins, there’s a renewed buzz in New York due to Larry Brown’s arrival. However, those good feelings disappear quickly as the Knicks lose their first five games. After a 5-9 November, the Knicks struggles deepen even worse. During December, they win just two of 14 games, as new acquisitions like Eddy Curry flail, and Jerome James, recently signed by the team to a multi-million multi-year deal, rots on the bench. Brown feuds all season with Stephon Marburry and GM Isiah Thomas. As the new year begins, the Knicks suddenly find a groove, beating the Phoenix Suns in overtime 140-133, then win their first six games in ’06. However, it’s short-lived as the Knicks lose 22 of their next 24 games. Frustrations mount in every direction, with the fans booing the team regularly at Madison Square Garden, while Brown and Isiah clash over the direction of the team. Isiah is the target of fans’ ire as he continues to make questionable moves like acquiring overpaid players Jalen Rose and Steve Francis, instead of allowing the bad contracts of Anfrene Hardaway and Antonio Davis to expire. With the highest payroll in the league and no first round draft picks due to the Eddy Curry deal, the Knicks become the laughingstock of the NBA, flirting with setting a franchise record in losses. When the season finally mercifully ends, the Knicks are in last place with a horrendous 23-59 record. Owner James Dolan makes a stunning move, firing Brown, despite Brown having four years left on his contract and being owed millions. The Knicks and Brown work out a settlement, with Brown receiving $18.5 million. Meanwhile Dolan forces Isiah to coach the team, making an ultimatum that Isiah better turn the team around quickly or else he’ll be fired next.
2006/07: Things don’t start out good for Isiah Thomas and the Knicks. Fans boo, chanting, “Fire Isiah” when the Knicks get off to a slow 9-17 start. On December 16th the Knicks are in the midst of a poor performance at home, getting blown out by the Denver Nuggets 123-100, when frustrations boil over. An ugly brawl erupts after Mardy Collins commits a flagrant foul on the Nuggets J.R. Smith. The foul touches off a brawl that ultimately leads to the ejection of all ten players on the court and suspensions to seven players. However, the brawl seems to have a positive effect on the Knicks, as they play considerably better, winning their next three games. They play a more competitive brand of basketball over the next two and half months, posting a 20-17 record to get in the chase for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Though still sitting with an overall losing record, the Knicks post-fight turnaround convinces Knicks Owner James Dolan that progress is being made, resulting in president/GM/coach Isiah Thomas being given an undisclosed “multi year” contract extension. Many Knicks fans are unhappy about the extension, with the Knicks still far from a winning team. The fans’ concerns turn out to be justified, as following the announcement of the deal on March 12th, the Knicks go into a tailspin, winning just four of their last 19 games. They finish in 4th Place with a record of 33-49. The move to retain Isiah Thomas looks even worse in the off-season, when the Knicks lose a $12 million sexual harassment lawsuit to former employee Anucha Browne Sanders. During the trial, Sanders testifies that Thomas often made derogatory comments about female employees and white season ticket holders, painting him as both a sexist and a racist.
2007/08: To help the Knicks get closer to the playoffs, Thomas makes a draft day deal with the Portland Trailblazers, picking up Zach Randolph, Fred Jones, and Dan Dickau for Channing Frye and Steve Francis. However, from the very beginning of the season it’s clear Randolph is another overpriced dud, his lack of desire and poor attitude winning out over his natural skills. An eight game losing streak sinks the Knicks as soon as the season starts, and “Fire Isiah” chants fill the Garden. After a 5-10 November, including an embarrassing 104-59 loss to the Boston Celtics on November 29th, the Knicks playoff hopes all but wilt in December with losing streaks of six and seven games. By January 5th, the Knicks sit in last place with a 8-24 record. The Knicks play poorly on the road all season, ending with an awful 8-33 away record. March brings more frustration as they win just two games during an 18 game stretch. However, there’s light at the end of the tunnel: Isiah Thomas is relieved of his job as President and General Manager when the team hires longtime Indiana Pacers GM Donnie Walsh. The Knicks finish the season with a horrible 23-59 record. When the season’s over, Thomas also is relieved of his coaching duties and given a job in the organization where he’ll be powerless for the remaining part of his undisclosed multi-year deal.
2008/09: With new Coach Mark D’Antoni, the Knicks go into the season hoping to lay a foundation for the future while they rid themselves of Isiah’s bad contracts and deals. Two players the Knicks unsuccessfully try to get rid of are Eddy Curry, who comes to training camp out of shape and spends the early part of the season on the bench with an injured knee, as well as Stephon Marbury, a major headache for the team the past season. Coach Mark D’Antoni refuses to play Marbury, while the Knicks work on a buyout of the remaining $21 million on Marbury’s contract. With the focus on clearing cap space for the 2010 free agent season, on November 21st the Knicks trade Jamal Crawford to the Golden State Warriors for Al Harrington, and simultaneously send leading scorer Zach Randolph to the Los Angeles Clippers along with Mardy Collins for Cutino Mobley and Tim Thomas. After the trades, the Knicks need Marbury to play, but he refuses to enter a game. The team sends him away for good as the two sides negotiate a deal and look for a way to get him off the roster. Off course in the world of the Knicks, this is not the last word. On December 16th Marbury buys front court seats at the Staples Center to watch the Knicks get beaten by the Los Angeles Lakers 116-114.
2009/2010: The Knicks misery continued into the 2009 NBA Draft. In need of a major upgrade at point guard, the Knicks quickly let it be known that they were going to select Ricky Rubio, Jonny Flynn, or Steph Curry. On draft night, Minnesota’s David Kahn shocked the world and selected both Rubio and Flynn at 4 and 5, while Golden State select Curry right before the Knicks. The Knicks panicked per usual and selected power forward Jordan Hill. Needless to say, Hill didn’t work out so the Knicks packaged him later in the year for Tracy McGrady’s expiring contract. At least the Knicks selected a reasonable back up point guard in Toney Douglas by buying the Lakers’ first round pick. Other than that, Donnie Walsh was still shedding contracts to clear as much room for the 2010 Free Agency class, which was highlighted by LeBron James, Dwayne Wade, and Chris Bosh.
Summer 2010/First half of 2010 season: In the 2010 Draft, the Knicks were without a first round pick thanks to Isaih Thomas, but managed to select future starter Landry Fields in the second round. The Knicks were spurned by LeBron James, Dwayne Wade, and Chris Bosh, as they all elected to play together in Miami. To reward the fans for hanging with the team through two years of tanking, the Knicks signed Amar’e Stoudemire for five years $100 million. Upon arrival, Stoudemire announced that “the Knicks are back” which didn’t turn out to be as far off as people imagined. The Knicks got off to a great start with Stoudemire playing at an MVP level, and free agent signee Raymond Felton averaging 17.1 points per game. Stoudemire at one point scored 30+ points in nine straight games setting a Knick record.
February 2011: In a blockbuster trade with the Denver Nuggets, the Knicks acquire Carmelo Anthony, their best offensive player since Bernard King. Anthony joins All-Star starter Amar’e Stoudemire to form one of the great one, two offensive combinations in the league. Also coming over in the deal was Chauncey Billups who became their starting point guard for the stretch run. The combination of STAT and Melo becomes questioned as Mike D’Antoni struggles to find a way to play together on the court. The Knicks make the playoffs for the first time since 2004, but fail to win a game, getting swept by the Boston Celtics 4-0.
2011/2012: The Knicks were busy again in the offseason. Donnie Walsh was virtually forced out by James Dolan and Glen Grunwald took over as the Knicks’ General Manager. His first major move came with the Knick’s made a sign and trade with the Dallas Mavericks to acquire center Tyson Chandler. With the addition of Chandler, the Knicks believed they had formed their own big three to compete against Miami. In order to do this though, the Knicks used their one time amnesty clause on Chauncey Billups, which proved to be costly in the near future. The Knicks also drafted guard Iman Shumpert in the first round, who turned out to play a major role in their season.
It was a strike shortened season, but the Knicks played a solid 36-30 regular season. Some highlights included Linsanity, when rookie point guard Jeremy Lin took the league by storm when the Knicks were reeling, leading New York to seven straight wins. Mike D’Antoni eventually resigned and left the Knicks with defensive minded Mike Woodson to lead them in the playoffs. The Knicks ended their 11 year win drought in the playoffs by taking one in the series loss to the Miami Heat, 4-1. Tyson Chandler also took home the Defensive Player of the Year Award.
2012/2013: The best year in recent Knick history by far. Everything worked for the Knicks in 13/14. They were unstoppable, even blowing out the Miami Heat on multiple occasions. Between Steve Novak and J.R. Smith, the Knicks had one of the best three point shooting teams in the NBA. Jason Kidd also came over in the offseason and played great for the team up until the playoffs. Mike Woodson had a tendency to over play his players and this eventually hurt the Knicks as the season wore on. The Knicks finished with more than 50 wins for the first time since ’99-’00, going 54-28. Carmelo also won the scoring title at 28.7 points per game.
Stoudemire was riddled with injuries, limiting him to only 29 games during the season. Smith won the Sixth Man of the Year award averaging 17.7 points per game off the bench. The Knicks won the Atlantic Division for the first time since 1993-94 and also won their first playoff series since 99-00 beating Boston 4-2. In the second round, the Knicks came up short and lost to the Indiana Pacers 4-2. In a year that should not have ended there, Knick fans around the country were calling for Mike Woodson’s head.
2013/14: The Knicks took a major step back this season. After being one of the best teams in the NBA, the Knicks fell to one of the worst teams or at least the most difficult to watch. A month before the season started, James Dolan decided to fire Grunwald after he acquired Andrea Bargnani and his awful contract. Steve Mills replaced him as the teams GM. The team questioned Mike Woodson on every move he made and got off to a terrible start. Chandler missed half the season with a broken leg and was not himself when he came back from it. Stoudemire was on an outrageous minutes restriction and was ineffective until that restriction was lifted. The Knicks missed the playoffs for the first time in three years in a terrible Eastern Conference.
The lone bright spots of the season were rookie Tim Hardaway Jr. showing signs of being a very good NBA shooting guard, and Carmelo Anthony playing his best NBA season to date. Melo completely dominated averaging 27.4 points per game and 8.1 rebounds per game. He shot 45% from the field, including 41% from downtown.
Spring 2014: The Knicks make one of the most marquee signings in team history by naming Phil Jackson team president with a 5 year $60 million contract. This marks a change of the times for the Knicks as Jackson now has full reign over the Knicks and will be able to make decisions instead of James Dolan.
Summer 2014: Mike Woodson is fired and shortly after, Jackson hires former point guard Derek Fisher to become the Knicks new head coach. Derek Fisher will teach the Knicks the triangle offense and look to establish a new team mindset. Jackson also made his first major move by trading Tyson Chandler and Raymond Felton to Dallas for Jose Calderon, Samuel Dalembert, Wayne Ellington, Shane Larkin, and two 2014 second round pick (Cleanthony Early and Thanasis Antetokounmpo).