Do all of the shenanigans caused by J.R. Smith’s knee sound eerily familiar to you? Dare I badmouth Allan Houston, one of the most beloved and revered New York Knicks of the 21st century? It certainly isn’t his fault that management offered him and his bad knees six years and a $100 million. Let’s just chalk it up as yet another Knicks blunder.
I love Houston (not Dwight and company) as much as any other Knicks fan, but lets be honest, he never should have been a max guy. It’s fair to ask how management was supposed to know his knees were going to fall apart the way they did, but at the same time, it’s also fair to ask how they threw $100 million at somebody who literally only had two years left in the tank. Is there no such thing as a physical? Do any these players see doctors before they sign on to play in New York? How did J.R.’s possible need for surgery never surface until after he inked a contract and for how long is he actually out for? Are we sure Tim Hardaway Jr. is only day-to-day? Sometimes, for the sake of our sanity, things are just better left unanswered.
In the first two seasons of his six year deal, Houston averaged 20.4 and 22.5 points respectively, setting career-highs with both marks. He was the usual, reliable scorer New York had grown to know him to be until the end of a 2003-04 season, where he missed 32 games with knee troubles. Refusing a microfracture surgery that offseason, he managed to play in only 20 games the next time around, and never recovered after that. He would spend the next two years cashing in on $40 million while cruising in to retirement. Let’s hope our reigning Sixth Man of the Year is able to regain his old form once he’s back.
Houston literally went from dropping 50 on the defending champion Lakers to out of the league in just two seasons. He attempted a comeback under the random jumble of contracts coached by Mike D’Antoni in 2008, but he was cut before he could even make his preseason debut. The former Knick All-Star now has his fingerprints all over the organization as an assistant GM, and it’s always good to see him around.