Injuries significantly hurt the New York Knicks in the 2023-24 NBA season, especially in the playoffs. With that perhaps in mind, New York decided to make an intriguing addition to the team, as NBA insider Marc Stein reported on Sunday that the Eastern Conference franchise has made the decision to hire Dallas Mavericks trainer Casey Smith.

“The Knicks have hired Casey Smith, longtime athletic trainer for both the Dallas Mavericks and USA Basketball, as their new vice president of sports medicine.”

Before the Knicks hire, Smith worked for two decades with the Mavs. He was Dallas' head athletic trainer from 2004 to 2024 and also served as the team's director of player health and performance from 2019 to 2024, according to his LinkedIn profile. Smith graduated from Arizona State University in 1992 with a bachelor's degree in Kinesiology and Exercise Science before earning his Master of Science in athletic training at West Virginia University in 1994. His first venture in the NBA was a gig with the Phoenix Suns in 2003 as the team's head strength and conditioning coach up to 2004.

Smith's experience and proven body of work in the NBA must have played a big role in the Knicks' decision to get him. In addition to his time with the Mavericks, Smith also helped Team USA from 2005 to 2012 as a lead athletic trainer.

There was a bit of a controversy involving Smith and the Mavs before the 2023-24 NBA season when it was reported that he would no longer be occupying a spot on Dallas' bench and wouldn't be with the team in road games.

“Sources: Mavericks director of player health and performance Casey Smith will have an adjusted role this season. He will no longer be on the bench, as he has been for two decades, and is not expected to travel with the team on a regular basis, Tim MacMahon of ESPN reported in September 2023.

Knicks went two rounds in the 2024 NBA Playoffs with a banged-up roster

New York Knicks forward Julius Randle (30) dribbles up court during the second half against the Orlando Magic at Madison Square Garden.
Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

The Knicks finished their 2023-24 campaign with some what-ifs, perhaps none bigger than the injuries they dealt with in the postseason. New York played two rounds in the playoffs while dealing with injuries to a number of their key players, including OG Anunoby, Bojan Bogdanovic, Josh Hart, Jalen Brunson, and Mitchell Robinson.

Hart and Brunson were there from start to end of the Knicks' playoff journey, but they played hurt in the latter part of the second-round series against the Indiana Pacers. Even if the Knicks found a way to beat the Pacers, they probably wouldn't have Brunson in the next round, at least. That is also not to mention the absence of Julius Randle in the entire 2024 NBA Playoffs due to a season-ending surgery he underwent in April to repair an injury in his right shoulder.

It remains to be seen whether Smith will have a significant impact on how Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau distributes his minutes to his players, but New York must be expecting some improvement at least on how the players' health and injuries are managed.

The Knicks finished the last season with a 50-32 record — their most wins in a single campaign since notching 53 victories in 2012-13. They eliminated Joel Embiid and the Philadelphia 76ers in six games in the first round of the 2024 NBA Playoffs before getting upset by the Pacers in a series that went seven games long.