Since the NY Knicks last won a title in 1973 it seems like they’ve had 35 rebuilds over the last 45 years. It’s actually been over a dozen — of all kinds:
- Rebuilds based on free agents,
- Rebuilds based on youth and the draft,
- Rebuilds built on sign-and-trades and the draft,
- Rebuilds based on new GM’s and regime changes, new coaches, etc.
The current one under Scott Perry is based on youth and the draft — so far — and perhaps a sprinkling of an elite free agent coming. Over the next 13 days, we’ll take a look at the Knick rebuilds since 1973.
1. The Bob McAdoo Rebuild
One of the best rebuilds on paper was the Bob McAdoo rebuild of 1975-77. The 1st rebuild.
- Knicks GM Eddie Donovan.
- On paper one of the greatest Knicks teams ever — in 1976-77 they had, all in their prime:
- After the entire Knicks all-star front line retired at the end of the 1974 season (Willis Reed, Dave DeBusschere, and Jerry Lucas) — the Knicks needed to rebuild their front line. They started by signing George McGinnis to a contract even though he was property of the 76ers after the ABA dispersal draft. The Knicks were hammered in penalites and denied McGinnis.
- Knicks then signed Spencer Haywood, still in his prime at age 26, in 1976 — a 20 pt/12 rebound power forward, hero of the 1968 Olympics and first superstar of the ABA where he scored 30 ppg in 1970.
- Midway through the 1976-77 season, the Knicks made the big McAdoo trade — getting him and Tom McMillen for almost nothing (John Gianelli)! McAdoo was 25 yrs old coming off 3 consecutive scoring titles and was a league-leading rebounder.
- They then got Jim McMillian (the next Bill Bradley) from Buffalo for cash.
- That new, elite front line was added to the Hall of Fame backcourt still in their prime of Walt Frazier and Earl Monroe.
- Just-drafted Ray Williams came off the bench with Lonnie Shelton, Toby Knight and Glen Gondrezick.
- After a half season of the McAdoo trade not propelling the Knicks (they finished 40-42 in 1976-77) the Knicks signed Jim Cleamons and gave Cleveland Walt Frazier as compensation. (Word at time was Frazier had lost a step defensively and GM (and friend) Willis Reed wanted to trade him before he lost value.)
- On paper one of the best Knick teams ever, the 1977-78 Knicks won 43 games — Haywood was injured and missed most of the season. The Knicks blew past Cleveland in the 1st round. Then Philly double-teamed McAdoo and swept the Knicks in 4 in the 2nd round.
- The Knicks finally had McAdoo and Haywood playing together in 1978-79, but started badly, and gave up on the McAdoo/Spencer Haywood team — trading Haywood in January and McAdoo in February.
- Knicks were deemed to have offensive individual players that didn’t jive, and not enough defense. It was on to rebuild #2..