Here's my take on it:
The team's expectations were big, they wanted to win then and there and not wait for the future to draft a possible future All-Star or Hall of Fame caliber player. It would have taken them too long. Four to five years is painful, and you know New Yorkers
So, what would I do in a situation like this? Trade for a player who dominates the game but kind of worned out his welcome mat for his team, and hope for the best that a trade of scenery is all he needed. T-Mac (Magic), Vince Carter (Raptors), Steve Francis (Rockets), and Stephon Marbury (Suns) all were possible candidates at that time so there were alot of options to choose from. Then after that was done, with the "Money Isin't An Object" rule with James Dolan, I'd just sign some role players and draft a key rookie and start making a playoff push.