Knicks fans felt spurned in the summer when Kevin Durant signed with Brooklyn. The flames of discontent were reignited Tuesday when Durant explained part of why he chose the Nets instead of the Knicks.
In an interview on the Ebro in the Morning Show on Hot97 FM, Nets star Kevin Durant talked about several topics, including his decision to sign with the Nets and why “it’s hard” for the Knicks to attract top players. Here is the full interview.
Here are some highlights:
“The organization, basketball is the most important thing for me, so playing with Kyrie (Irving), DeAndre Jordan, the young players they got, was key. Playing with Golden State, playing with an older group. I thought it was time for me to kind of impose my will on a younger group. … I just wanted to be around a nice group of young players and also a good mix of vets.”
The Knicks, as you know, cleared cap space in pursuit of two max free agents. They did not land Durant or their other top targets.
Durant said on the radio station that he considered the Knicks, but it didn’t sound like he gave them serious consideration.
“I thought about it, yeah, just a thought. But I didn’t really do any deep, full analysis on the Knicks,” Durant said.
The two-time Finals MVP also reiterated that Nets fans shouldn’t expect him to play this season. Both Durant and GM Sean Marks have said that the current plan is for Durant to miss the entire 2019-20 season while he recovers from surgery to repair a torn right Achilles.
ON WHY STARS DON’T WANT TO PLAY FOR KNICKS
Ebro, the host of the show, lamented the Knicks’ inability to land stars. Durant responded, “They’re trying. They’re trying. It’s hard to get the best players to play here. It’s hard.”
Durant was asked to expand on why it’s difficult for the Knicks to attract stars.
“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. I didn’t grow up with the Knicks,” he 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 to them is not as cool as, let’s say, the Golden State Warriors or even the Lakers or the Nets now.
“It’s like the cool thing right now is not the Knicks,” he added.
The Knicks haven’t made the playoffs in six seasons and last played in the NBA Finals in 1999. They last won an NBA title in 1973.
The club hopes to build around a young core featuring RJ Barrett, Kevin Knox, Mitchell Robinson and others. They signed several free agents to complement that young core with the hopes of taking a significant step forward after a 65-loss 2018-19 season.
The Nets, meanwhile, are coming off of a playoff appearance last spring after winning 28 games the previous season. Kyrie Irving and Jordan were the major roster additions. In a perfect world for the Nets, this year’s club, led by Irving, continues on that upward trajectory and Brooklyn emerges as a title contender in 2020-21, when Durant returns.
In another portion of the interview, Durant was asked by co-host Peter Rosenberg about Knicks owner James Dolan‘s comments in March predicting a strong free agency for the club. Rosenberg posited that Dolan’s comments were a turn off to Durant and Irving as they entered free agency. Durant dismissed the theory, saying that he didn’t think he or Irving heard the comments.
Durant also weighed in to fan reaction to his comments:
@KDTrey5 you know what will be so cool, playing in front of empty seats. Watch how cool it is to get booed out of your own arena when the Knicks come to Barclays. In NY it’s not cool to be a Net. Sorry it still is and will always be a Knicks town. You will find out shortly.— NySportsHere (@NySportsHere1) October 8, 2019