The New York Knicks did their best to sign Michael Jordan when he was a free agent in the summer of 1996.
ESPN’s Anthony Olivieri provided an oral history of Hall of Famer’s free will, with the participation of then Madison Square Garden President and CEO Dave Checketts.
Checketts said he wanted to target Allan Houston and Reggie Miller in free agency, but his first phone call was to agent David Falk about Michael Jordan.
“I just said, ‘Our whole cap room, everything, can be yours if Michael comes,'” Checketts said.
That cap room amounted to $ 9.45 million out of $ 24.4 million at the time, which wouldn’t even make Jordan the highest-paid player in the league. The Bulls, meanwhile, were the only team able to break the salary cap thanks to its Bird rights.