New York sports went through an excoriating 24-hour period last week, starting from the highest of highs and ending at the lowest of lows. The New York Knicks had their dreams crushed in the NBA Draft Lottery on Tuesday, May 21, followed up by the New York Jets firing their general manager and hiring their head coach as the interim general manager the next day.
This 24-hour period for New York sports started with tremendous optimism heading into Tuesday night as the Knicks had a 14 percent chance of landing the number one overall pick in the NBA Draft, tied with the Phoenix Suns and Cleveland Cavilers for the best odds. The winner of the draft is assumed to take Duke Blue Devils superstar Zion Williamson as the first pick as he captivated the college basketball landscape since the moment he stepped on the court for the first time last season. The Knicks just needed the draft to fall in their favor.
It seemed to be going their way after picks 5-14 were revealed and the Knicks were still in play, as were the Los Angeles Lakers, Memphis Grizzlies and New Orleans Pelicans. With the Lakers given the fourth pick, the plan seemed minutes away from completion but then it was snatched away from them in an instant. The Knicks were given the third overall pick and their dreams of Williamson playing in Madison Square Garden vanished.
The New Orleans Pelicans were awarded the top pick and will either pick Williamson or trade it for a more established player. As Tuesday night turned into Wednesday morning, the New York sports community licked its wounds and began to move on, until the Jets decided to pour salt in the wound. Early Wednesday, the Jets fired general manager Mike Maccagnan who had served at the position since 2015. It was also announced that head coach Adam Gase would be taking over as the interim general manager for the time being.
“Mike helped to execute the strategic vision of the organization during the last four seasons and especially the past few months,” Chairmen and CEO of the Jets Christopher Johnson said in a statement. “However, I came to the decision to make a change after much thought and a careful assessment of what would be in the best long-term interests of the New York Jets.”
The move came as a shock after letting Maccagnan run the Jets draft where they took Alabama defensive tackle Quinnen Williams with the third pick and allowing him to spend nearly $200 million in free agency. Most of that money went to prize running back Le’Veon Bell in a four-year, $52 million contract, something that Gase was unhappy about when Bell signed with the team. Reports began to circulate Wednesday afternoon that Gase did not want to pay Bell as much money as he was given.
Within 24 hours, the Knicks had their hearts broken while the Jets are suddenly turning on themselves.