Following the breakup of the championship Bulls in 1998, Chicago did a sign-and-trade deal with Longley, sending him to the Phoenix Suns for Mark Bryant, Martin Müürsepp, Bubba Wells, and a conditional first-round draft pick. Longley spent two lackluster seasons with Phoenix, where he gained less attention for his play than for being stung twice by a scorpion while sitting on the floor of his home sorting through his CD collection.1 (Longley also had difficulties with bodysurfing - he managed to separate his shoulder and miss 18 games in 1997. ) He was traded to the New York Knicks prior to the 2000–01 NBA season in what was only the second four-team trade in NBA history. The Suns acquired Chris Dudley as part of the deal together with a first-round draft pick from New York and an undisclosed amount of cash, while New York received Longley, Glen Rice, Travis Knight, Vladimir Stepania, Lazaro Borrell, Vernon Maxwell, two first-round draft picks (from the Los Angeles Lakers and the Seattle SuperSonics) and two second-round draft picks from Seattle. Seattle received Patrick Ewing and the Lakers received Horace Grant, Greg Foster, Chuck Person and Emanual Davis. Longley spent one year with New York before retiring, due to a degenerative condition in his left ankle. Longley averaged 7.20 points and 4.90 rebounds per game in his 567 regular season game NBA career. Longley played more NBA games than any other Australian.
His father, Richard, an architect, represented Australia at international level in basketball, including being a member of two Olympic squads. His mother, Sue Hansen-Smith, is an equestrian who has been divorced from Richard since 1984 and resides in Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA.
Longley has two brothers, Sam, a journalist and actor, and Griff, also a journalist and who also played briefly for the Perth Wildcats. Longley was married to an American, Kelly, whom he met in New Mexico while he was attending college and they had two daughters, Clare Hanna and Lily Samantha.
On 6 April 2007, Longley's $2 million home in Fremantle,Western Australia, was destroyed by a fire. It is believed much of Longley's memorabilia from his basketball career was lost, although his three championship rings may have been spared.
He married Anna Gare, a former musician and current television presenter, in 2008.
In December 2009 Longley, who had participated in marine conservation efforts before, named a newly discovered shrimp species Lebbeus clarehanna after his 15-year-old daughter.