Former New York Knicks general manager and original Philadelphia 76er Al Bianchi died Monday of natural causes. He was 87.
A 6-foot-3 guard from Long Island City, N.Y., Bianchi was a second-round pick by the Minneapolis Lakers in the 1954 NBA Draft out of Bowling Green.
He played 10 seasons with the Syracuse Nationals/76ers franchise from 1956-66, including the team’s debut campaign in Philadelphia in 1963-64. He averaged 8.1 points, 2.5 rebounds and 2.2 assists in 687 games.
Following his playing career, Bianchi became the first head coach of the expansion Seattle SuperSonics (1967-69) before coaching the ABA’s Washington Capitols (1969-70) and Virginia Squires (1970-76).
He was named the ABA Coach of the Year in 1970-71 after leading the Squires to a 55-29 record.
After a long stretch as an assistant coach with the Phoenix Suns (1976-87), Bianchi served as the Knicks’ GM from 1987-91. During that tenure, he traded for Charles Oakley, signed John Starks and drafted Rod Strickland and Mark Jackson.
Bianchi was inducted into the New York City Basketball Hall of Fame in 2007 and the Ohio Basketball Hall of Fame in 2016.
—Field Level Media