Knicks' Star Decides to Stay on the Sideline
It would have been a great story, one that seemed too good to be true. But in the end, that is exactly what it was. Allan Houston brought the fans at Madison Square Garden so much joy and their memories of him will have to remain as such after he ended his comeback attempt during the preseason.
Houston, 36, joined the team recently after retiring from the New York Knicks in 2005 due to complications from microfracture knee surgery, and was by no means a lock to even make the team. He received offers from a few other teams - including the New Jersey Nets - but decided to go for it with his former club. He actually played a few minutes in one of the Knicks' preseason games, but made the decision to walk away.
"After much consideration, I have decided to end my comeback with the Knicks," Houston said in a statement. "While my body and knees, in particular, feel fine, I know what's required for me to be truly effective in the NBA again, and it involves a timing and progression that would not be fair to Isiah (Thomas, team president and head coach) and the Knicks right now. With the season opening less than two weeks away, I think it's best for the team to move on without me."
There was speculation that Houston would possibly look to join another team during the season and he will keep working to stay in shape in case the need should arise.
The veteran shooting guard signed with the Knicks in 1996 as a free agent from the Detroit Pistons and played nine seasons in Manhattan. For his career, he averaged 17.3 points per game and had a 40.2 percentage from three-point territory. He played a huge role in leading the blue and orange to the 1999 NBA Finals and represented the team in both the 2000 and 2001 NBA All-Star games. He hit the game-winning shot in the deciding game to oust the Miami Heat in the first round in '99, cementing his legacy in New York, and is the fourth-leading scorer in Knicks history with 11,165 points.
After resting for approximately one year following his retirement, Houston started working out again to be active and began improving his strength and speed, and was feeling less and less pain in his knee. During this past summer, he started playing basketball again and felt the time was right to try to get back on the court.
The guard-heavy Knicks may have not been the best scenario for Houston at this time, and Thomas seemed to be content with having Nate Robinson and Fred Jones as back-ups in the backcourt. Robinson is coming off an erratic rookie season where he showed flashes of brilliance and brought a ton of energy to the floor, but played with reckless abandon, sometimes angering his head coach. He did win the MVP of the Summer League and looks like he will be the first option off the bench to spell either Stephon Marbury or Jamaal Crawford. Jones was acquired in the draft-day deal with Portland that also brought power forward Zach Randolph east. Jones is entering his seventh season in the league and was originally drafted by Thomas in Indiana.
A sharpshooter like Houston would have been a nice option off the bench and may have still had something left in the tank. Unfortunately, on the 2007-08 Knicks, we will never know.