Former Stony Brook all-time leading scorer Jameel Warney is coming home, but he admitted the trade that sent him from the Texas Legends to the Westchester Knicks left him with mixed emotions. He’s joining a rebuilding Knicks organization with opportunity, but on the other hand, he poured everything he had into the Legends for the past three seasons.
Warney was dealt for Xavier Rathan-Mayes, who most recently played in Greece but whose rights belonged to the Knicks.
“I guess the Legends thought it was a good deal and they took it,” said Warney, who is averaging 13.7 points and 6.8 rebounds. “It’s definitely tough. I’ve been there for three years, but this is a business. It’s a new feeling, but the Westchester Knicks are one of the best teams in the league, so, that’s always a good deal.”
The past year has been difficult for Warney. Last March, he received a 10-day contract from the NBA Mavericks and played well, but it wasn’t renewed. Then, he played in China last May through July but had to fight through a knee injury.
“I enjoyed it, but it was tough,” Warney said. “It was the first overseas experience I had. I wasn’t really prepared. But I gutted out two and a half months on a hurt knee. That’s what I’m proud of.”
At the same time, the money he made in China was worth it compared to the G League, where the maximum salary is $77,250. “I definitely made more than some people made in a year,” Warney said, “so, I’m living comfortably now.”
For now, Warney is trying just to focus on playing well with Westchester. But after his China experience, he told himself this likely is his last G League season because he has far more lucrative opportunities in numerous foreign countries.
“I gave it all I have, all the emotion in the world,” Warney said of his time in Texas. “I’m turning 25 in a few weeks and I’ve got to start preparing for the future. I’m going overseas if I don’t make it. But I think I can make it to [an NBA] team . . . I pray every day. I put work in every day to try to get that position. If that time comes, I’ll be ready for it.”
Until then, he’ll give the Westchester Knicks all he’s got, and wouldn’t you know it? They’re starting a three-game road trip that ends next Wednesday against the Legends. With a laugh, Warney said, “That’s a big game in my head.”