Appearing on Ebro in the Morning on Hot 97 in New York on Tuesday morning, Kevin Durant was asked whether he considered the Knicks in free agency before signing with the Nets. While Durant acknowledged that he thought about the Knicks, he clarified that it was “just a thought” and that he didn’t do a “full analysis” on the franchise (link via ESPN.com).
More interestingly, Durant also offered his opinion on the Knicks’ brand in general, attempting to explain why the team hasn’t received serious consideration from star free agents in recent years.
“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.”
The Knicks created enough cap room for two maximum-salary slots heading into the 2019 free agent period and owner James Dolan expressed confidence in the spring that the team would have a highly successful free agent period. Instead, New York missed out on its top targets and ended up signing second- or third-tier free agents such as Julius Randle, Bobby Portis, Marcus Morris, Elfrid Payton, and Taj Gibson.
Durant and Kyrie Irving were thought to be at the top of the Knicks’ wish list, but chose to join the crosstown Nets instead. Asked today if Dolan’s comments were a turnoff to him and Irving, Durant dismissed that idea, saying that he didn’t think either he or Kyrie heard them to begin with, per Ian Begley of SNY.tv.