The New York Knicks have had trouble attracting a star to the team through free agency for a while now.
They were able to pair Amare Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony together, but they haven’t had much success in getting stars after that. The Knicks have since whiffed on LeBron James, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant, just to name a few. In the case of Durant and Irving, the two of them signed with the cross-town rival Brooklyn Nets.
It might seem like a case of bad luck, but Stan Van Gundy and Reggie Miller think it goes deeper than that. Van Gundy has been open in the past about how players don’t want to play for the Knicks, but this is his most in-depth explanation yet.
Knicks No Longer a Destination?
With the Knicks being unable to offer big money to any free agent this summer, Van Gundy believes that means the team loses the biggest carrot on the stick for any potential target.
“Guys aren’t making decisions like, ‘I want to go play for a certain general manager.’ Or, ‘I want to go play for whatever Wes is there with the Knicks.’ Or even that, ‘I want to go play for a coach,’” Van Gundy said via the New York Daily News. “No. 1 is money. And then—am I going have a chance to win? Who am I playing with? And where do I want to live? …..The fact that Leon Rose has ties to somebody, that’s all well and good. I don’t think that means anything. I don’t mean that as a knock on Leon Rose, or a knock on Wes. I just think that’s the way it is. Players aren’t making decisions for those reasons.”
Miller, who is still not a favorite among fans in New York, says players might avoid the Knicks because of everything that comes with it.
“I’m not sure guys want to play for the Knicks anymore. That’s the problem,” he said. “Why go through the headache of the New York media? I hate to say that but they don’t have to do that anymore. Then on the flip side, there’s only really one way for the Knicks to go, and that’s up. So if you win in New York, you get a lot of pats on the back. But if you’re mediocre or if you’re losing, that’s a lot of headache for a superstar. I think a lot of these guys are like, I don’t need it. I can go somewhere else and get the same amount of (money) and not the headaches of the media. A lot of players don’t want that.”
Knicks in Trouble?
Although the Knicks haven’t been able to land a true superstar, they’ve done a decent job drafting over the past few years.
With a core of RJ Barrett, Immanuel Quickley, Obi Toppin and Mitchell Robinson to build around, there are definitely worse positions the Knicks could find themselves in.
Barrett just had his best season yet as a pro, and there’s an expectation that he’ll take an even bigger step forward. If Julius Randle is able to recapture his All-NBA form, New York could find themselves fighting for a playoff spot yet again.
There are also some trades New York could try to swing that would bring a star into town, but that would likely cost some of the young core, and not every fan would be on board with that.