For all the problems facing teams as they prepare for a new season, the Knicks suddenly have to wonder if they’re cool enough.
That was the issue raised by Kevin Durant yesterday in an interview with Ebro in the Morning on Hot 97 in New York. Durant said he briefly considered the Knicks in free agency, but not enough to conduct a “full analysis.” He also suggested that the franchise lacks a coolness factor with young players.
“I think a lot of fans look at the Knicks as a brand and expect these younger players who, in their lifetime, don’t remember the Knicks being good,” Durant said. “I’ve seen the Knicks in the Finals, but kids coming up after me didn’t see that. So that whole brand of the Knicks is not as cool as let’s say the Golden State Warriors, or even the Lakers or the Nets now. You know what I’m saying; the cool thing now is not the Knicks.”
Those comments drew a response from a couple of newly-signed Knicks, who told Steve Popper of Newsday that their franchise is just as cool as anyone else in the league. After New York missed out on its top free agent targets, its first move was to add Julius Randle, who got $63MM over three years.
“I feel cool in blue and orange,” Randle said. “I don’t know about everybody else, but I feel pretty cool wearing my Knicks gear every day. It’s a dream come true for me. Everybody has their own opinion, and I know [Durant], I don’t think he meant it as a slight, honestly. I feel cool every day walking into this practice facility, and I know for sure I’m gonna feel cool walking into that Garden Friday night knowing that’s my home court.
“I know [Knicks history] just because I love basketball. I wasn’t old enough to see the Knicks when they were really good, guys like Pat [Ewing]. I don’t think he said it as a slight. I understand it to a certain point, but us as NBA players, it’s our job to know our history and the people that came before us. You walk into Madison Square Garden as an opposing player, the energy is different from any other arena you’re gonna walk into. Whether you know the history or not, you know it’s a big thing when you walk and play in that Garden.”
His comments were echoed by Taj Gibson, who grew up in Brooklyn as a Knicks fan.
“Even when I was in Chicago every time we came back here we always talked about how special it is to play in the Garden, how special it is to play the Knicks,” he said. “Even when [Carmelo Anthony] and J.R. [Smith] and guys were here we always watched Knicks games. I always watch the Knicks, so in my opinion I always liked the Knicks. That’s just my opinion.”
We want to get your opinion. Is it a lack of coolness that prevents the Knicks from attracting elite free agents? Or is there something else that causes star players to bypass New York?
Please leave your responses in the comments section.