Over the years, the Knicks have missed out on some opportunities that could have changed the history of their franchise. Here’s a few that hurt the most.
Only an “If” Now
The previous three decades have been tough for the Knicks franchise. Bad investments players. Injuries at the worst time. Missing out on superstar talent. Not getting the job done when it matters most. Bad leadership in the front office (don’t get me started on the Phil Jackson situation). Overall, there’s a multitude of things that have ultimately cursed this organization through the years but if these three things would’ve occurred, it could have changed everything.
Michael Jordan Signing with the Knicks during the ‘96 Offseason
Fresh off of winning his 4th NBA title, it was rumored that Michael Jordan was eyeing the Knicks as a potential landing spot in free agency. He had a strong connection with fellow Knick Legends Patrick Ewing and Charles Oakley. He strongly consider joining the rival team. Also, Jordan and his agent David Falk were interested in signing big sponsorship deals with ITT-Sheraton and Cablevision Inc. Cablevision at the time were part owners of the Knicks, Madison Square Garden, and the Sheraton Hotel Chain. The Knicks were willing to let Jordan have $12 million, which was the majority of what they had left in the salary cap). Jordan would have also made an extra $15 million with the sponsorship deals.
Even with the financial leverage and the close friendships, Jordan stayed with the Bulls. He went on to win two more championships. With the team the Knicks had set in place at the time, they could have won those two championships if Jordan signed with the team. This could have ended a 23 year championship drought! And they could have validated the Knicks dynasty in the 90s.Bbut, it will just go down as another “ What If”.
Stephen Curry drafted to the Knicks is 2009
During his 13 years in the NBA, Stephen Curry has revolutionized the game of basketball with his long range shooting. He’s currently a 3X champion, 2X MVP, the all time 3 point leader and 8X All Sta. He is recognized as the greatest shooter that has walked the planet earth. In 2009, the Knicks were one draft slot away from drafting this future Hall of Famer. The Golden State Warriors were lucky enough to have the 7th pick in that draft while the Knicks were right behind with the 8th spot. Even though Curry averaged 28.6PPG in his last year at Davidson College, which led the nation, there were still doubts due to his size and his talent compared to other guards in the draft such as James Harden, Jonny Flynn, and Rick Rubio.
The Knicks were willing to take the risk and it seemed like Curry would be drafted there. According to sources, Curry, his father (Dell Curry) and his agent(Jeff Austin) all wanted the Knicks to pick him. Curry was interested in playing under the bright lights of MSG and in Mike D’Antoni’s high powered offensive system. All signs were pointing to Curry going to New York but the Warriors surprisingly took him at the 7th spot. The Knicks drafted Jordan Hill from Arizona. I’m pretty sure I don’t have to explain what has happened since. The best shooter ever on the biggest stage of them all would have been something to behold. This could have led to some championships (if the right team was put around him) and an absolute treat for basketball fans to witness.
It Still Haunts, But…
That draft still haunts the Knicks organization today and probably forever. At least it doesn’t haunt them as bad as it does the Timberwolves, who had two opportunities to draft Curry before taking Flynn and Rubio. In the end, luck has never really been on the Knicks side and this is a prime example of that.
The Knicks receiving the #1 pick in the 2019 draft lottery
The last number 1 pick that the Knicks had was in 1985 when they drafted Patrick Ewing. After over 30 years, it seemed like the Knicks will finally get the 1st pick to draft Duke superstar Zion Williamson. Unfortunately, the lottery balls did not roll in their favor as they ended up with the 3rd overall pick in the 2019 draft while the New Orleans Pelicans captured the 1st pick, breaking Knicks fans’ hearts around the world. As expected, Zion Williamson was drafted to the Pelicans. While the Knicks picked R.J Barrett. Now, even though the Knicks drafted Barrett , who currently looks like a star in the making, drafting Zion could have potentially led to the Knicks signing Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant later that offseason. It was rumored that Durant and Irving heavily considered going to the Knicks before making a late push to join the Nets instead.
The Knicks drafting Zion could have intrigued Durant and Irving to form a Big 3 for the ages. But, once again, luck wasn’t on their side and they ended the 2019 offseason with neither of the three players. As of now, with the Knicks having both of Zion’s former Duke teammates Cam Reddish and R.J Barrett already on the Knicks, it is possible that they can lure Zion to New York but that will have to wait. When it’s all said and done, the 2019 offseason will go down as one of the biggest disappointments in Knicks history.
Hopefully the future will be kind to this organization. But, those lost opportunities will have people wondering what could have been.
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