The NY Knicks have a horrid history of mistakes made by management. The Nets are not so stellar as well. If you have a friend that doesn’t get why NY basketball can’t seem to contend, this story sum’s it up. The year is 1976 and the ABA and the NBA are merging. The ABA always had a plan of merging with the NBA, they understood that was a reality for them and were working towards that goal. In the process, the Nets, Spurs, Pacers, and Nuggets joined the NBA for the ’76-’77 season. The Nets were the best team in the ABA and were expected to be competitive in the new league right away. Their main reason for that? Julius Erving and Nate Archibald. Here’s a taste of some of the magic Dr J would bring to the NBA:
The NY Knicks had other plans. Part of the merger agreement allowed the Knicks to file a complaint asking for $3.8 million as compensations for the Nets ”invading their territory”. The Nets already paid a fee when joining the NBA (something all expansion teams have to do) and already had promised to give Dr. J a better contract. The Nets owner Roy Boe reneged on that promise so Dr. J held out at training camp. Teams learned about this and Buck, Lakers and 76ers started making phone calls to inquire about Dr. J’s availability.
Did you notice how the Knicks didn’t call? Well, to add insult to injury, the Nets still gave them a chance offering Dr. J to cover the infringement fee. The Knicks being the Knicks, they valued $4.8 million more than one of the transcendent players in the history of the game. To be fair, it is hard to fill seats and make money in NYC…. The Sixers moved in with an offer to buy our Dr. J for $3 million, covering most of the infringement fee, and another $3 million going to Dr. J. The Nets agreed and Dr. J became a 76er, picking the number 6 to symbolize the 6 million that the team paid to get him.
The Nets imploded and the Knicks lost a chance to get one of the best ever. It’s tough being a basketball fan in New York, New York.