The era’s symbolic finish was Ewing being traded to the Sonics for Glen Rice and peanuts in 2000. Checketts said he made the move as a reward to a franchise player who requested a relocation. “A lot of people look back on it now and say that’s where the downturn of the Knicks started, but if you’re going to blame trading Patrick Ewing at 38 years old for starting the mess, you’re completely uninformed,” Checketts said. “Did we do a good deal? No. Did we have a good deal on the table to do? No. But I felt — and this is me — I felt that we owed Patrick Ewing something.
The guy had gone hard the whole time he was with us. He had done everything we could possibly ask of him, and now he was sincerely saying to me, ‘I want to go. I don’t want finish my career in New York. I don’t want to be under the microscope. I don’t want the New York press calling for me to sit out. I want to be somewhere else.’ And his choice was Seattle, and that’s the team we made the deal with.”