I mean, where do I even begin?
I guess I’ll start by saying the Knicks are gonna do Knicks things and an organization notorious for its circus-like ways of conducting basketball business took things to a new level Sunday when word leaked out that they stunningly, stupidly, insanely, ridiculously, ludicrously, and astonishingly, wouldn’t offer Kevin Durant a max deal in free agency.
Get. The. Fuck. Outta. Here.
Whether the above turns out to be 100 percent true or is just spin on the organization’s part so it can take the sting out of KD signing with their crosstown rival we’ll eventually find out. But it was absolutely shocking to hear the Knicks didn’t want to extend a full four-year and max money contract to one of the best players in the world to join the worst team in the NBA last season because of his recent injury. Meanwhile, two much more competent, more successful, highly regarded, and better run organizations—Brooklyn and Golden State—had absolutely no issues offering all the years and as many dollars as they could to sign KD.
The team never seriously flirted with Irving, they have zero chance of landing Leonard, and looked like fools with their intention to low-ball KD. Christ, the Knicks were only going to chat via a conference call with him rather than meet face-to-face.
Teams almost never send out something like that during free agency, but when you embarrass yourselves by low-balling your No. 1 target in free agency you might need to do some damage control. Of course, real Knicks fans have no reason to be “upbeat and confident” that the organization is headed in the right direction or that it’s ever going to make the right decisions. It’s basically been that way for the last 20 years. You know why.
Listen, you understand there are reasons to be leery of Durant since Achilles injuries are no joke and, real talk, the Knicks have been burned by free agents in the past who had iffy knees and suspect medical histories. Different professionals will tell you different things about coming back from an Achilles. While one sports surgeon I talked to recently expressed apprehension about offering KD the bag, the Warriors didn’t share those concerns. Neither did the Nets whose team surgeon repaired KD’s Achilles. No insider or reporter or anyone following the NBA had the audacity to say Durant’s injury would cost him in free agency. Nobody was scared about KD’s recovery except the Knicks. Even if he returns for the 2020-21 NBA season only 80 percent of prime Kevin Durant that player is still better than 90 percent of the league.
The money that would’ve been better spent on KD instead goes to Julius Randle, Taj Gibson, Reggie Bullock, Wayne Ellington, and Bobby Portis. They’re nice players who didn't ink long-term deals, but those signings aren’t going to attract other high level free agents to the Knicks since they're taking up plenty of cap space nor will those signings change the franchise’s credibility with the fan base the way a deal, or at the very least a serious flirtation, with Durant would have.
The only thing Knicks management has been able to sell the fan base, while running out trash squad after trash squad for what feels like forever, was the bounty available in 2019 free agency. Cap space was diligently cleared, especially after the Kristaps Porzingis trade this past winter, and free agents would be attracted to play alongside a high draft pick—ideally Zion Williamson—since the Knicks were lottery bound. Business was about to be booming for the 2019-20 NBA season since the Knicks were only going to chase Grade A free agents like Kyrie, Kawhi Leonard, and KD. All others—your Jimmy Butlers, Kemba Walkers, etc.—weren’t deemed worthy.
But when you’re the Knicks, or sadly a Knicks fans, nothing ever goes your way and while RJ Barrett wasn’t a bad consolation prize after losing out on Williamson, clearly missing out on Zion was a sign their luck wasn’t changing. The team never seriously flirted with Irving, they have zero chance of landing Leonard, and looked like fools with their intention to low-ball KD. Christ, the Knicks were only going to chat via a conference call rather than meet face-to-face.
The Knicks are never going to live this one down. Even if KD never quite gets back to what he was or worse—is a shell of himself for three of his four seasons he’s able to lace ‘em up in Brooklyn— it’s still going to go down as a bone-headed, idiotic decision by the Knicks to not offer him the max. You’ve been the laughing stock of the NBA for years and this was your chance to stop being a punchline. WHAT DID YOU HAVE TO LOSE OFFERING KD A MAX DEAL?
Only the Knicks could gloriously blow their chance to prove the circus has finally left town. Mills and general manager Scott Perry were supposed to be running the rebuild with clear intentions and without any meddling from the notoriously meddlesome owner. They said they had a plan and Knicks fans bought it hook, line, and sinker. This summer was supposed show the Knicks are a franchise serious about doing business seriously and done being a punchline.
Should’ve known better.