It’s been 20 years since the New York Knicks sniffed the NBA Finals and six years since they’ve been to the playoffs.
And to quote former Boston Celtics coach Rick Pitino: “Patrick Ewing is not walking through that door fans. John Starks is not walking through that door, and Allan is not walking through that door. And if you expect them to walk through that door, they’re going to be gray and old.”
As we know, the Knicks were unable to land star forward Kevin Durant in free agency, but it appears he did consider the team on some level.
Kevin Durant Recently Stated He Considered The Knicks This Summer
Kevin Durant was recently on Hot 97’s Ebro in the Morning and said he thought about joining the Knicks.
“I thought about it, yeah — just a thought. But, I didn’t do any deep full analysis on the Knicks. I heard it every day — media in the Bay Area were talkin’ about it every day. Tough to dodge, but can’t control it,” said Durant.
The summer of 2019 was supposed to be the year that the Knicks became an NBA powerhouse again. On January 31, 2019, they announced the trade of former All-Star Kristaps Porzingis along with Courtney Lee, Tim Hardaway Jr., and Trey Burke to the Dallas Mavericks In exchange for Dennis Smith Jr., DeAndre Jordan, Wesley Matthews, and two future first-round draft picks. Ultimately, trying to clear cap space for two max free agent slots.
When free agency rolled around, the Knicks had their sights set on both Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, but unfortunately for the Knicks, both decided to sign deals with the crosstown rivals the Brooklyn Nets.
According to Frank Isola of The Athletic, Knicks management was “stunned and depressed” when they heard the news.
“When free agency approached, the Knicks were optimistic that the worst season in franchise history would be saved by Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant coming to the Garden. The two marquee free agents also had other ideas and chose the Brooklyn Nets.”
“While the Knicks have spun this notion that they didn’t want meetings with either player — as well as Kawhi Leonard — a team source insists that management was ‘stunned and depressed’ when they learned that Irving and Durant picked the other team in town.”
Knicks Reportedly Didn’t Offer Kevin Durant Max Contract
The Knicks and owner Jim Dolan were not prepared to offer Kevin Durant a full max contract due to concerns over his recovery from the Achilles injury, league sources tell me, while ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Ramona Shelburne confirmed as much.
Following this news coming to light, it made Durant’s decision to sign with the Nets even less surprising. It did appear from early on that Durant and Irving had interest in playing together and joining the same team in NBA free agency, though.
When News Broke Stephen A. Smith Released a Twitter Rant
“The New York Knicks, with KD on the market, Kyrie on the market, Klay, Kemba, Jimmy Butler, they can’t get somebody to come to Madison Square Garden? But because Brooklyn’s got Sean Marks and Kenny Atkinson and they’re Brooklyn,” Smith said. “In three years, the Brooklyn Nets have accomplished what we’ve been waiting for the New York Knicks to pull off for a half-century,” said Smith.
“Seventy million dollars in cap space, Porzingis gone. Porzingis can’t be gone, and we don’t get KD, we don’t get Kyrie, no way. This can’t happen. But it happened.”
Knicks President of Basketball Operations Steve Mills Released Statement
The Knicks remain upbeat and confident that they can rebuild and compete for championships in the future.