The 13 Knicks Rebuilds Since their Last Title in 1973: Rebuild #3

3. The Bernard King Rebuild

Orchestrated by:


  • Hubie Brown was brought in as coach, stressing Defense.
  • Micheal Ray Richardson was traded for Bernard King. The trade made sense at the time as it seemed the Knicks were getting a slightly better player; by then it was known Richardson had a drug problem and King had an alcohol problem. We didn’t know how much better this trade would make the Knicks until King quickly rose to become one of best players in the game.
  • Maurice Lucas was traded for Truck Robinson at the end of the 1982 season — at the time this didn’t make any sense at all. Lucas averaged 16 pts and 11 rebounds for the Knicks. But new coach Hubie Brown may have preferred Truck Robinson‘s defense.
  • 30 years later we learned the 1983 Knicks were under FBI investigation for fixing games to pay for their cocaine habits. You can only wonder if the trades the Knicks made in the 1982-83 time frame were due to management knowing they had a cocaine problem. The whole league had this problem, but Knicks management may have been getting rid of their more notorious imbibers.
  • Bottom line — the dynamic duo backcourt of Ray Williams & Michael Ray Richardson was gone — a new course was set with Bernard King and Hubie Brown.
  • Rory Sparrow was acquired to run the point.
  • Trent Tucker (#6 overall pick in 1982 draft) was the young stud shooting guard — defense & great 3-pt shooter but the wait was on to see if he could learn to penetrate to basket, which he never did.
  • Minor trade for Louis Orr turned out great as he became key reserve forward, along with high 1st-round draft pick Sly Williams.


  • The Knicks went 44-38 the first year under Hubie Brown, and then 47 wins in 1983-84.
  • Bernard King led the Knicks deep into the playoffs in ’84, beating Detroit and Isiah Thomas in a fantastic 7-game series.
  • But the Knicks really had no chance against Boston — the Knicks would edge out home playoff wins, then get smashed in Boston.

The End:

  • In 1984-85, Cartwright was lost for the year with a fractured foot. Truck Robinson went down for the year with a toe injury. King — leading the league in scoring — went down with a horrific knee injury. Before you knew it the Knicks had Ken Bannister and Eddie Lee Wilkins as their big men and a horrific season — which resulted in the famous Dave Debusschere lottery pick and the #1 pick in the draft, and rebuild #4…

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