The last few days have been far from perfect for the New York Knicks. The Brooklyn Nets have strengthened their position as the best team in town by acquiring KD and Kyrie — the same combo the Knicks tried but were unable to wheel into the Madison Square Garden.
Today we wrote about the Knicks turning down Dr. J back in 1976, a decision that haunts every true New York fan to this day. And since the last few days have been an absolute mess for the Knicks, we can’t help but remember another potentially game-changing trade the Knicks DID NOT manage to pull off.
Rewind 23 years, it is the summer of 1996, and Michael Jordan is a free agent. It is widely expected that Jordan will re-sign with the Bulls and that no team will be able to match Chicago’s offer. However, Jordan’s agent, David Falk feels that his client is worth much more than the rumored 15 and 18 million Chicago is willing to offer.
Falk was smart enough to recognize the potential of MJ’s brand and tried to negotiate a deal with the Knicks owners, who also owned the ITT & Sheraton. The general idea was for Jordan to be a spokesman or brand ambassador for ITT & Sheraton, and thus it was feasible for New York to offer a much more appealing contract.
Falk ultimately received New York’s offer, and according to an article from the Chicago Tribune dating back to 1997, Falk gave a call to Reinsdorf, Chicago Bulls Chairmen, saying something along the lines of:
The Bulls have one hour, maybe the rest of the day, to beat a $25 million offer from the Knicks, or Michael Jordan was going to sign with New York.
The Chicago Bulls responded immediately, upped the offer to $30 million and MJ signed the largest single-season contract in NBA history at the time. The end.