Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: the Knicks would have gotten this major free agent totally, but then hey, something crazy happened!
New York is back, this time with a poor explanation of why it couldn’t get Kevin Durant in free agency last summer. The Knicks were widely regarded as the favorites to sign the 10-All-Star, but Durant eventually agreed to a four-year deal with the Nets, joining Kyrie Irving in Brooklyn.
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Some members of the Knicks organization believe Durant would have come to Madison Square Garden if he hadn’t suffered from a torn Achilles with the Warriors in the 2019 NBA Finals, according to Ian Begley of SNY.
This theory is stupid, of course, and ignores Durant’s public comments and the problems surrounding one of the most dysfunctional franchises in the NBA.
“If I left the Warriors, it would always be for the Nets,” Durant said in August to Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports. “They got the parts and a creative front office. I just like what they were building. “
Durant also previously said that the Knicks are not “cool” for the younger generation of players, ending the idea that the Knicks are hitting home circuits in a free agency based solely on prestige.
“I didn’t grow up with the Knicks being good. Well, I remember the Knicks being in the finals, but the kids after me didn’t see it, “Durant said in an October interview with Hot 97 in New York. “So the Knicks brand isn’t as cool to them as, say, the Golden State Warriors or even the Lakers or the Nets now. The cool thing right now is not the Knicks. “
Even putting that aside, the Nets are simply a more well-run organization than the Knicks. The Brooklyn front office led a successful reconstruction following a disastrous exchange in 2013 with the Celtics, and the Nets secured a playoff spot in 2019. They were on track to secure the No. 1 seed 7 in the East this season despite Durant seated to focus on rehabilitation and Irving missed all but 20 games with his own injury issues.
The Knicks, on the other hand, have not made it to the playoffs since 2013 and have hired six different head coaches during that period (with a seventh on the horizon if they don’t lie Mike Miller). New York also doesn’t have a rising star to build because it traded Kristaps Porzingis to create ceiling space to sign free agents like Durant and Irving.
Oh, and there’s a quick note about the Knicks who apparently don’t want to give Durant a maximum deal.
The Knicks and owner Jim Dolan were not ready to offer Kevin Durant a maximum deal due to concerns over his recovery from Achilles’ injury, league sources tell me and @wojespn. Knicks officials are in Los Angeles tonight, meeting with free agents such as Julius Randle.
– Ramona Shelburne (@ramonashelburne) June 30, 2019
Perhaps an entirely healthy experience in the NBA Finals would have changed Durant’s perspective. However, if he could have finished the series, another Warriors title could have forced Durant to reassess when he left Golden State. It is impossible to say how this scenario unfolds.
This report presents itself as another round of the Knicks trying to change their public perception. The new team president, Leon Rose, would be wise to tell the rest of the front office to focus on taking steps to improve rather than re-examining past failures.