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  • Bite the Bullet: Remembering the 2014–15 New York Knicks, and Where They Are Today

Bite the Bullet: Remembering the 2014–15 New York Knicks, and Where They Are Today

Photo: TKW Illustration

New York’s worst team in franchise history remain a diaspora of NBA cast offs and maligned players that lost 65 games and yielded the number-four pick in the 2015 draft.

It was the beginning of the end. Fresh off the hiring of Phil Jackson as president of basketball operations, Knicks fans were instilled with a false sense of hope that the Zen Master would work his magic and save our storied franchise. A Derek Fisher–coached Knicks unit went into the 2014–15 season looking to build towards the future. Perhaps, a little too much.

The Knicks compiled an atrocious 17–65 record in what is arguably known as the worst season in franchise history. For the first time ever, the Knicks registered more than 60 losses, setting a franchise record in that category. However, by finishing with the second-worst record in the league, the Knicks were in prime position to potentially land the no. 1 overall pick.

What made matters worse? The Knicks got jumped by the Los Angeles Lakers and Philadelphia 76ers in the lottery and were awarded the fourth overall selection in the draft.

Ultimately, as we all know, this was a blessing in disguise as we were able to land our franchise player in Kristaps Porzingis.

Now approaching the 2018–19 campaign, we are in a similar rebuilding position as we were in 2015. However, management and the young core built around today’s team offers a much more promising future.

Let’s take a look back at the 2014–15 Knicks squad that helped us land KP and see what they have been up to since that memorable year. …


Leadership

The Knicks brass from the 2014–15 campaign has changed quite a bit over the past few years. The one constant is Steve Mills, who served as the general manager of the franchise. He is the lone member of management to still have a position with the team. Today, Mills serves as the team president. The former president, Phil Jackson, was axed in the summer of 2017, after three years of disappointment (besides drafting KP). Head coach Derek Fisher only survived one full year, before getting fired 54 games into the 2015–16 season. He was replaced by Jeff Hornacek, who went on to coach the Knicks at the start of 2016–17.

No need to fret Knicks fans—although the 2014–15 season may seem like yesterday, the Knicks are led by a new regime that has already begun to point our coveted franchise in the right direction. However, for comedic pleasure, I present to you the 2014–15 Knicks roster, and what they have done since helping us set a franchise record in losses!

Quincy Acy

Acy was sent to the Knicks in a trade and spent one season with the team. Acy provided energy as both a starter and a member off the bench and averaged 5.9 points and 4.4 rebounds per game. As a Knick, Acy was known for his intensity and phenomenal beard (one of my favorite Knick beards of all time).

Following his stint with the Knickerbockers, he has spent the past few years serving as a role player for multiple teams, most recently, the Brooklyn Nets. He is currently a free agent and he’s expected him to serve a veteran bench role for a team come October.

Cole Aldrich

The former NCAA champion with the Kansas Jayhawks enjoyed the biggest role in his NBA career during the 2014–15 campaign. Aldrich started 16 games and averaged 5.5 points and 5.5 rebounds per game. A career backup, Aldrich fell back to reality following his Knicks stint and has spent the past few seasons as a bench player for the Clippers and T-Wolves. Like Acy, Aldrich is also a current free agent who looks to find a roster spot before the season begins. Notice a trend here?

Lou Amundson

Loooooooooooou. I was actually a fan of Amundson during his short career with the Knicks. I mean, how could you not appreciate his hustle and man bun? Amundson was sent to the Knicks in a trade with Cleveland that shipped Iman Shumpert and J.R. Smith for a bag of chips. The definition of a journeyman player, Amundson spent time with over 10 teams in his NBA career. At the moment, he is playing for the Kawasaki Brave Thunders in the Japanese Professional Basketball League. Good for you Lou, keep balling.

Carmelo Anthony

The lone star on a helpless team. That was Carmelo Anthony during the 2014–15 campaign. Buying into the rebuild plan of Phil Jackson, Anthony stayed with the Knicks in that they would be competitive within a few years. He played in only 40 games that season due to a knee injury and averaged 24.2 points and 6.6 rebounds per game while shooting 44.4 percent from the field. Good thing that ‘Melo sat out for a majority of the season because it was almost embarrassing having him out there with such an unpolished squad. If the Knicks were competitive, Anthony easily could have come back from his injury, but the team decided to sit him due to their record. I respect Anthony for riding out such a tough season and committing to the Zen Master’s plan, even though we all know how that worked out.

Since then, Anthony played two more seasons with the Knicks before being traded to OKC in exchange for Enes Kanter, Dougie McBuckets, and a future second-round pick (Mitchell Robinson). After a year alongside Russell Westbrook and Paul George, Anthony and the Thunder mutually parted ways and he was traded to the Atlanta Hawks. However, reports say they have reached a buyout agreement and he will sign a one-year $2.4 million dollar contract with the Houston Rockets. Although Carmelo is no longer a star player in the NBA, he remains a respected vet in the league among players and wishes to fulfill his quest to win a much-coveted NBA title.

Andrea Bargnani

I will keep this short and sweet because I am sure all Knicks fans are cringing just looking at the name. Yes, we traded a first-round pick for Andrea Bargnani. Yes, he was trash and that was quite possibly one of the worst trades in franchise history (he only played two more years in the NBA after the trade). But all is good. We possess all of our future picks and the new regime has instilled hope that moves like that will never happen again. WE’RE OVER IT.

José Calderón

Part of Phil Jackson’s early moves as team president (besides signing Lamar Odom…who was on crack), Calderón came to the Knicks in a deal that sent Tyson Chandler and Raymond Felton to the Dallas Mavericks. At the time of this deal, there was excitement about getting fresh faces on the roster and the idea of freeing up cap space with this deal. Boy did that age poorly.

Calderón started 42 games in the 2014–15 season and averaged 9.1 points and 4.7 assists per game while shooting 41.5 percent from the field. Arguably the worst starting point guard in the league at the time, Calderón’s contract was also stuck on the Knicks’ book for three years, making me wonder if we would have been better of just keeping Chandler. Since then, José has bounced between teams, most recently being a member of the Eastern Conference champion Cleveland Cavaliers. On July 7th, Calderon signed a one-year deal with the Detroit Pistons and looks to bring veteran leadership while coming off the bench.

Samuel Dalembert

Another piece brought in from the Tyson Chandler and Raymond Felton trade, Dalembert played his final season in the NBA for the Knicks in 2014–15. He was a shell of his former self and averaged 4.0 points and 5.3 rebounds per game in 32 appearances—both career lows. The Knicks were so displeased by his play that they waived him midway through the year. No other NBA team picked him up and he spent the next two years playing for the Shanxi Brave Dragons of Chinese Basketball Association. Now, Dalembert’s playing days are over, and he most recently made the news for being arrested on two counts of battery following an incident with his girlfriend and her cousin. Not good.

Cleanthony Early

When the Knicks selected Cleanthony Early in the second round of the 2014 NBA Draft, I was hyped. He was an absolute beast on Wichita State, and I was certain that we landed a second-round steal. I was wrong. Early struggled in his ieie season, averaging 5.4 points per game while shooting a measly 35.5 percent from the field and 26.2 from beyond the three-point arc. He spent the next year bouncing back and forth between the then-D-League and NBA before being shot in a December armed robbery outside a strip club. Early impressively recovered in just three months and returned to the court for the Knicks in March. Early struggled even further during the 2015–16 season, which led to getting waived in ’16. Cleanthony has spent the past few seasons in the G-League and is currently a member of the Rio Grande Valley Vipers. He averaged 10.9 points per game for the squad last year and shot 48.4 from the field. I’m glad to see Early is back and playing basketball after a life-threatening encounter. I hope that he finds himself on an NBA roster again one day.

Langston Galloway

I’m not going to lie, I was devastated when the Knicks did not re-sign Galloway during the 2016 free agency period. After going undrafted in 2014, the standout Saint Joseph’s Hawk started 41 games and averaged 11.1 points per contest. Although his shot struggled from the field (39.9 percent), Galloway was a hustler that showed constant and intense effort on both ends of the floor. In the following season, Galloway served a role coming off the bench, which led to a dip in his production. I really wanted the Knicks to sign Galloway back because I thought he had potential to be a solid role player going forward. I also loved his attitude and chip on his shoulder for going undrafted.

Since then, Galloway has spent time with the New Orleans Pelicans and Sacramento Kings, before signing with his current team, the Detroit Pistons.

Tim Hardaway Jr.

Guess who’s back…back again. Timmy’s back! Before his triumphant return to orange and blue, THJ was initially drafted by the Knicks in the first round of the 2013 Draft. During the ’14–’15 campaign, his sophomore NBA season, Hardaway Jr. struggled with his shot. While he did average 11.5 points per contest, Hardaway Jr. shot 38.9 percent from the field and 34.2 percent from three. This led to the Knicks trading him to the Atlanta Hawks in exchange for the rights of Jerian Grant (who got shipped a year later). Hardaway Jr. struggled immensely in his first year with the Hawks but had a career resurgence in his second season in ATL. This led to the Knicks offering him the four-year, $71 million dollar contract that he signed last year. Timmy had the best year of his career in 2017–18 and looked like a much better overall scorer. He drove to the basket and showed vast improvements as a scorer compared to his first stint as Knick, where he was mainly a spot-up shooter. Was the contract worth it though? We will have to wait and see, but he’s back with the Knicks and looks to improve upon his solid play last year.

Shane Larkin

I love watching Shane Larkin play during his time at the University of Miami. With the Knicks… not so much. Larkin was drafted by the Dallas Mavericks 18th overall in 2013 and spent only one year with the team before being involved in the trade that brought Calderón and Dalembert to the Knicks. In his lone season with the Knicks, Larkin started 22 games and averaged 6.2 points and 3.0 assists per game. Typical backup numbers for a player who received an expanded role on a terrible team.

Larkin has spent the past few seasons hopping around the NBA and EuroLeague, most recently playing for the Boston Celtics this past season. Larkin is currently a free agent looking to land a spot on an NBA roster, but it looks like he’s signing with Turkish pro team Anadolu Efes.

Ricky Ledo

Not much to say here. Ledo played 12 games for the Knicks and averaged 7.4 points per game while shooting a dismal 35.6 percent from the field. This marked his final appearance in the NBA, having played 28 games between the Mavericks and Knicks during a three-year span. Ledo has spent the past few years hopping around a variety of international and G League teams. He is currently a member of the Vaqueros De Bayamón, a Puerto Rican basketball team of the Baloncesto Superior Nacional league.

Pablo Prigioni

The fan favorite Pablo Prigioni had been a delight since he joined the Knicks in 2012 on a one-year deal. At the age of 35, he became the oldest rookie in NBA history. Prigioni averaged a career-high 4.7 points per game during the 2014–15 season. It was hard to root against Prigioni. He brought hustle and effort to the court every night, even during a season in which the Knicks were historically bad. Prigioni was traded to the Houston Rockets during the season and signed with the Los Angeles Clippers the following year before returning to Spain and ending his playing career with Baskonia. Currently, Prigioni is an assistant coach for the Brooklyn Nets.

Iman Shumpert

The defensive-minded guard was selected in the first round by the Knicks in 2011. He never truly panned out as a Knick, but is best known for his awesome flat top and his put back dunk against the Indiana Pacers in the Eastern Conference semi-finals Game 2. Shump averaged 9.3 points per game while shooting 40 percent in 24 games with the Knicks in 2014, before being traded alongside Smith to the Cavaliers. What did we get in return? A second-round pick.

Shump went on to play a role in the Cavaliers 2016 NBA Championship run. This past year, Iman was traded to the Sacramento Kings, where he averaged a career-low 4.4 points per game. Shumpert looks to bounce back and have a bigger impact with the Kings this upcoming season.

Alexey Shved

The Knicks brought Shved on board in a three-team trade with the Rockets and Sixers late in the season. He played 16 games in the 2014–15 season and started nine of them. During his short stint, Shved averaged 14.8 points and 3.6 assists per game at a 40 percent clip from the field. This flash of offensive production led to Schved accepting a deal to become the highest-paid player overseas as he joined BC Khimki, a professional basketball team in Russia. Shved is still a member of BC Khimki today. Would you ever imagine the Knicks would have competition in signing Shved back with a professional team in Russia? Well, they did, and lost.

J.R. Smith

Smith had quite a few entertaining years with the Knicks after signing with them after the lockout-shortened season. The 2013 Sixth Man of the Year struggled during the start of the 2014–15 season, before getting traded to Cleveland with Shumpert. Smith was a key role player for the 2016 Championship Cavaliers, but is most recently known for his blunder in Game 1 of the 2018 NBA Finals. When in doubt, call timeout.

Jason Smith

A career role player, Smith played his one and only season with the Knicks in ’14–’15 and averaged 8.0 points and 4.0 rebounds per contest. Since then, Smith has played a season for the Orlando Magic and has spent the past two seasons as a member of the Washington Wizards. His statistics have declined in almost every category since he left New York.

Amar’e Stoudemire

When looking back at the roster from this season, I almost forgot that Stoudemire was still a member of the team. It makes sense, considering he did not even stay on the roster for the entire season. STAT was a shell of himself during the ’14–’15 campaign and averaged just 12.8 points and 6.8 rebounds per game in 36 appearances. In February, the Knicks and Stoudemire reached a buyout agreement, which ended his tenure in orange and blue. After that, Amar’e finished the season with the Dallas Mavericks. He signed a one-year contract the following year with the Miami Heat and retired the following summer as a member of the New York Knicks. Today, Stoudemire is a co-captain of the Tri-State, a team in the newly launched BIG3. However, rumors are circulating that Stat may be attempting an NBA comeback. Time to hang it up Stat, it was a hell of a career.

Lance Thomas

As shocking as it is, Thomas is the only Knick that has remained on the roster since the 2014–15 season. Can you believe it—LANCE THOMAS. He has remained a constant in a rapidly changing team over the past few years. Thomas enjoyed the best statistical season of his career in ’14–‘15, averaging 8.3 points and 3.0 rebounds per game. Since then, his numbers have diminished but he has served a consistent veteran leadership role off the bench.

Travis Wear

An undrafted player out of UCLA, Wear spent his rookie season as a member of the New York Knicks in 2014–15. He appeared in 51 games and averaged 3.9 points and 2.2 rebounds per contest, coming off the bench. After that, Wear spent the past few seasons playing internationally and in the G League prior to joining the Los Angeles Lakers this past season. He recently signed a two-way deal to remain with the Lakers, notably, the new home for LeBron James, who he famously held to 0-for-4 from the field as his defender in that insane season-opening victory to spoil James’ Cleveland homecoming in 2014.

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