Dave Checketts Rumors
The second, “Blood On The Hardwood: The Flagrant History of the 1990s Knicks” penned by former Wall Street Journal Knicks beat writer Chris Herring, will be published in 2021. Knepper, who lived and died with the successes and failures of the 1990s Knicks powerhouses, started his research three years ago. He conducted interviews with 100 sources — with former Knicks and Garden president Dave Checketts turning out the most helpful.
Dave Checketts was a few months into his job as Knicks president in 1991, having just pushed through his seismic hiring of Pat Riley. He was dining with agent Bill Pollak in Manhattan, with the purpose of negotiating an extension for Pollak’s client, Charles Oakley. When the conversation shifted to Patrick Ewing, Checketts learned about Golden State’s plot to poach his All-Star. Pollak explained that his other client — Chris Mullin — was urged by the Warriors to restructure his contract so more money was guaranteed on the front-end. Ewing was the reason. Because of a unique contractual clause, New York’s center would become a free agent if he wasn’t among the NBA’s top-4 highest-paid players for the 1991-92 season. Ewing’s deal left him at No. 4 in salary, behind only Cleveland’s John Williams, Houston’s Hakeem OIajuwon and Chicago’s Michael Jordan.
According to Checketts, Ewing desired a relocation to Golden State and his power agent, David Falk, was pulling the strings. Mullin agreed to participate but was apprehensive. “Pollak was basically saying, ‘Look, Mullin is from New York, he doesn’t want to cooperate, he doesn’t want to be the reason Ewing gets to leave New York,” Checketts said in an interview with the Daily News. “But he’s in this tremendous conflict situation. Because if he makes it happen and you have Mullin, Tim Hardaway, Mitch Richmond and Patrick Ewing on the Warriors — they’re winning a bunch of titles.”
Jeff Van Gundy, who could be a Knicks coaching candidate if they move on from interim coach Mike Miller, admitted the franchise has not showed proper direction since former president Dave Checketts left the organization in 2001. Van Gundy said Checketts was “a great leader.’’ “Since then they’ve never settled on a direction of leader from a general manager standpoint or a coach,’’ Van Gundy said on Sirius Radio on Friday prior to the Knicks beating the Kings 103-101. “It’s been constant change and unfortunately that amount of change has led to an inconsistency of philosophy, of belief, and I just think they have to settle and give whoever they pick next the opportunity to grow and evolve.
“Yeah, and it comes back to I think that we had the right leadership,” Van Gundy told Krzyzewski. “(Former team president) Dave Checketts, who I’m sure you know. Great leader. And then we had unfortunately, at the end of my time there, we had a dilution of talent with the Knicks and it happened rapidly due to some just age, some injury. Patrick Ewing, one of the greatest all-time players, aged and got traded. Larry Johnson, a legendary UNLV player but just a terrific teammate and someone to coach who set an example every day, back injury. Then they traded for [Antonio] McDyess, he had a knee injury. Allan Houston had a knee injury. These are career-changing type of injuries.”
Times have changed, Checketts said, as have expectations. “They are way lower than ever before,” he said of the Knicks in a telephone interview. “I’m not mocking them. I’m just saying — making the playoffs would be a gigantic accomplishment for them.” Checketts added: “For the teams we had, we couldn’t afford to not at least make a case that we could win it all. But I don’t think there’s any question that they could get away with rebuilding now because the fan base has been built over time and the expectations are so much lower. But I think it’s going to be important to communicate it purposefully and properly.”
That’s the question we posed to Ex-Knicks President Dave Checketts … and the answer is gonna raise a couple eyebrows up in the Big Apple for sure. Checketts presided over the Knicks during the early ’90’s when Patrick Ewing was king … so we asked the same question the locker room is asking … who’s king now, Melo or KP (sorry, Derek)? Melo prolly gon’ cry in the car.