For the first time in eight years, the New York Knicks reached the playoffs in 2021 as the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference. New York followed up that performance with an 11th place finish in the conference that wasn’t enough to earn a spot in the play-in tournament. There’s an entire list of things that went wrong this past season, and one of those things involved the Knicks not bringing Theo Pinson back during the offseason.
Pinson spent his first two years in the league with the Brooklyn Nets, but in November of 2020, New York signed the guard to a two-way contract. He only appeared in 17 games for the Knicks in 2020-21, but he played a large role in constructing the culture that led the Knicks to the postseason.
Just by Theo being Theo, fans didn’t have a choice but to love him. Whether it was his constant presence as his teammate’s biggest supporters or his dance moves on the sideline, he quickly became a beloved fixture in Madison Square Garden. So after New York fell to the Atlanta Hawks in the first round of the playoffs, it was assumed that one of the Knicks’ offseason moves would be to bring Pinson back.
As we all know, that unfortunately didn’t happen. Recently, Pinson appeared on the ‘Run Your Race’ podcast and opened up about his New York departure.
Fan favorite Theo Pinson says that Knicks not re-signing him in 2021 ‘hurt’
It’s no surprise to learn that 95% of people within the organization wanted to bring Pinson back, but it’d be interesting to learn who the remaining 5% were. And if the overwhelming majority wanted the Knicks to re-sign the guard, why didn’t it happen?
You could chalk it up to it all being a coincidence, but in Pinson’s four years in the league, the teams that he’s been on have made it to the playoffs. He signed a 10-day contract with the Dallas Mavericks last year, which was converted to a two-way deal. This past season, the Mavericks made it to the Western Conference Finals for the first time since 2011. That’s what you call the Theo effect.
In free agency, Dallas made the the right decision by bringing Pinson back on a one-year deal, which is what New York should’ve done. Teammates like him don’t come around often and clearly, the Mavericks recognize that.
As a fan, it’s impossible to not appreciate someone like Theo, even after he leaves your team. Although New York didn’t re-sign him, he’ll always be a fan favorite in the Garden.