The New York Knicks are one of the most recognizable sports franchises in the world.
While they only have two championships in franchise history, they play in an iconic stadium and have rostered some of the NBA’s best players.
Stars frequently appear courtside at games and Forbes ranked them the third-most valuable sports franchise in the world in 2021.
And yet, the Knicks have had just one winning season since 2013.
Not to mention they have only made the playoffs six times since the turn of the century.
This just so happens to coincide with the time current owner James Dolan took over control.
But we will not look back all the way to the year 2000.
Instead, we will just look at the worst mistakes made by the Knicks since 2010.
3. Knicks Fumbled The Carmelo Trade
First up is a mistake involving the greatest Knick in recent history, Carmelo Anthony.
Carmelo played 6.5 seasons with the Knicks, averaging 24.7 points per game while making six All-Star teams and being named to two All-NBA teams.
He led them to three straight playoff appearances upon first arriving but never made it past the semifinals.
New York never made it back to the playoffs after 2013 and Anthony was eventually traded after the 2016-17 season.
However, it was how the trade went down that was the big mistake.
Team President Phil Jackson (more on him later) publicly stated he thought Melo would “be better off somewhere else” in his end-of-season press conference.
Phil Jackson, asked if he wants Melo back, says Melo is a player who might be better off chasing a championship elsewhere.
— Ian Begley (@IanBegley) April 14, 2017
Which was the right call, but it also stripped the Knicks of any bargaining power.
An uninspiring haul for a player of Anthony’s caliber given recent deals for NBA superstars.
2. Signing Joakim Noah In 2016
One will start to notice a trend with the three biggest mistakes since 2010.
They all happen under the same team president.
Noah was inked following a 2015-16 season that saw him play in only 29 games due to two major shoulder injuries.
In all fairness, the Knicks weren’t the only team to overpay that offseason, but this is a mistake regardless.
Prior to his injury-shortened season, Noah appeared in 67 games during 2014-15.
As first reported per (@ShamsCharania ) The Knicks are looking to part w/ two-time NBA All-Star Joakim Noah.
New York signed the 2014 DPOY to a 4 yr/ $72 million contract in 2016. Noah appeared in 53 of a possible 164 games due to injuries and other issues with the team. pic.twitter.com/QIKI5FHZSb
— The Baseline (@NBABaseline) September 14, 2018
He averaged 7.2 points, 9.6 rebounds, 4.7 assists, 0.7 steals, and 1.1 blocks per game across 30.6 minutes.
A far cry from the 12.3/11.2/4.7/1.2/1.8 stat line he posted the prior two seasons where he was an All-Star.
Noah never returned to form in New York, averaging 4.6 points and 7.9 rebounds during his 53 games as a Knick.
He was waived after just two seasons and the Knicks are still paying him this year – $6.4 million.
Noah’s lack of production and large contract hamstrung the Knicks from the day he was signed.
1. Making Phil Jackson President In 2014
Finally, the root cause behind nearly all the Knicks’ problems, Phil Jackson.
Jackson was brought in on March 18, 2014 to be the president with a 5-year, $60 million contract.
It was all downhill from there.
Jackson selected five players across three drafts during his tenure:
- Cleanthony Early (2014)
- Thanasis Antetokounmpo (2014)
- Kristaps Porzingis (2015)
- Frank Ntilikina (2016)
- Damyean Dotson (2016)
Early was out of the league by 2016.
Antetokounmpo appeared in two games for the Knicks before leaving to play overseas (he eventually returned to the NBA and is now with the Milwaukee Bucks).
Porzingis was traded because of the dysfunction caused by Jackson.
Ntilikina had a disappointing four years in New York before signing with the Mavericks.
And Damyean Dotson spent three seasons with the Knicks but is now playing in the G-League.
On top of his poor draft record, Jackson made quite a few bad trades:
- Traded Tyson Chandler and Raymond Felton for Jose Calderon, Samuel Dalembert, Wayne Ellington, Shane Larkin, and two second-round picks (Used on Early and Antetokounmpo)
- Traded Iman Shumpert and J.R. Smith for Lance Thomas, Lou Amundson, Alex Kirk, and a second-round pick
- Traded Tim Hardaway Jr. for Jerian Grant
There were a few he deserved credit for but overall, he traded away more good players than he acquired.
There was also the infamous report from Jay Williams that Jackson “fell in and out of sleep” during a pre-draft workout of a top-15 prospect.
— Bob Ley (@BobLeyESPN) June 22, 2017
Jackson is maybe the greatest coach of all time.
He was not the greatest executive.NEXT: 3 Trades The Knicks Can Make To Save Their Season