Unfortunately for long-suffering Knicks fans, the team hasn’t had the type of success in the 2000’s that it did under Pat Riley and Jeff Van Gundy in the ’90s.
Despite the heartache of losing playoff series to Jordan’s Bulls, Miller’s Pacers, Hardaway’s Heat and the NBA Finals to Hakeem and the Rockets and the Duncan-Robinson led Spurs, the Knicks teams of that decade gave fans much to cheer about well into June. And although they couldn’t secure that highly coveted NBA trophy, the Garden was rocking every night and the city was surging with electricity during every regular season game and playoff matchup.
But after the 2000-2001 season, things changed dramatically. Bad deals, poor trades, injuries and poor leadership from the top down has resulted in some dismal, head-shaking performances that were shocking to read.
According to Basketball Reference, in a span ranging from after the 00-01 season to current day, the Knicks have only had two winning seasons and four playoff appearances. The roster fluctuated, bad trades were made and questionable contracts were signed, all which hampered their draft opportunities and future outlook. Knicks fans were frustrated as names like Antonio McDyess, Eddie Curry and Jerome James signed with the team only to end up injured or sitting on the bench, collecting big checks and destroying the team’s chances for success.
Then in 2011 the trade was made for Carmelo Anthony, and despite much fanfare, welcome home videos and a surprising 54-28 season in 2012, the team maintained its losing ways and early May playoff exits. Then came Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah, and while the jokes and memes were made in regards to Rose’s injury-prone past, there surfaced some hope that the team might be able to make some noise with some new faces and playoff veterans.
But at the end of the day it’s the same old Knicks, and this time Noah is stepping in to play the part of the latest injury-prone, overpriced NBA veteran.
Sources: After heated verbal exchange in practice between Joakim Noah and coach Jeff Hornacek last week, the Knicks are exploring avenues to part with Noah. He has two years remaining on the four-year, $72M deal he signed in 2016.
Yesterday we learned that Noah and head coach Jeff Hornacek got into a heated argument and now the team is either looking to move him or buy out his contract. But the latter option will be extremely challenging to say the least as the Knicks, as is tradition, made a huge mistake in signing him to a four-year, $72 million deal in 2016, and the final two years are guaranteed.
Plus Noah is coming off of both injuries and a suspension for violating the league’s anti-drug policy, so finding a team not aware enough to take on everything he brings with him is basically a dead issue. The team’s more likely move, especially after his flare up with coach Hornacek, is to buy out his contract through a stretch provision, which allows teams to pay out the full amount over a few years, thereby reducing the annual amount on the books in each year.
With the trade deadline looming and unfortunate injuries occurring last weekend, there remains a possibility that a team could be interested in Noah’s services, but with the way the Knicks have conducted team affairs over the last 16 years, don’t be surprised if Noah is gone and an understudy quickly steps into the role.