New York Knicks
Robby Sabo, ESNY Graphic, Getty Images

The New York Knicks plan on being active in free agency this summer. History says that could do more harm than help.

Josh Benjamin

I imagine NBA free agency to be, at some points, much like the Detour segments of The Amazing Race. Players eventually come down to two options. They can go one route and earn a lot of money, but winning a championship wouldn’t be realistic for at least a year. Maybe even two, depending on the team’s strategy. Either way, a championship isn’t guaranteed, and the possibilities of scrutiny from the fans and media alike are real.

In the other route, they take less cash but are guaranteed a championship their first year with the new team.

Now, why am I comparing one of the most popular shows on television to NBA free agency? Well, it’s because my beloved New York Knicks are expected to be active in free agency this July, and they should be. It’s not often a perennially bad team like the Knicks are in a position to sign top players like Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson, and more. The money is there to spend, and Durant could generate a great return on investment.

Except, what if the Knicks put a lot of money into Durant, he plays at a high level, and the team still doesn’t win a championship? Even if he wins an MVP trophy as a Knick, some ruthless fans will view the signing as a failure. The media would be even more merciless.

Don’t get me wrong. Knicks fans should be incredibly excited for what the summer may bring. They should just temper their expectations for what might actually happen.

The interminable drought

The Knicks may play in the biggest media market in the world, but one wouldn’t guess it based on their history. New York hasn’t won a playoff series since 2013, hasn’t been in the NBA Finals since 1999, and hasn’t even won a championship since 1973! Gasoline cost 37 cents per gallon back then. William Friedkin’s The Exorcist was en route to grossing nearly $233 million at the box office. Tony Orlando & Dawn’s “Tie A Yellow Ribbon ‘Round the Old Oak Tree” topped the charts.

One more, for the people in the back. I’m 32, and my parents were teenagers in 1973. That’s how long it’s been since the New York Knicks have been NBA Champions!

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