The Brooklyn Nets and New York Knicks are both preparing free-agent pitches for July, but it’s clear that Brooklyn is the better option.
No, we aren’t talking about a better option to watch on a nightly basis. Although that’s true, this is about the upcoming summer — a pivotal one for both franchises occupying real estate in New York. But the city they occupy looks to be one of the few things the Brooklyn Nets and the New York Knicks have in common.
Since the move to Brooklyn (and while they played in Jersey for that matter), the Nets have been the forgotten team in New York. Even when they’re better than the Knicks, the Knicks are still the Knicks.
However, Brooklyn is emerging from the shadows and asserting themselves as a prime landing spot for the likes of Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard, Jimmy Butler, or any other top-tier free agents.
The idea that the Nets are a better fit for someone like Durant is beginning to gain traction. Entering the season, some felt that the Nets were a decent option in theory, but they weren’t at the top of anybody’s list.
The narrative leading up to the 2018-19 season was that the Knicks were a prime destination. They accumulated some nice young talent, hired a promising coach to man the sidelines, the front office seemed to be stabilizing, and of course, Kristaps Porzingis would be back eventually. Everything seemed to be lining up perfectly for the Knicks.
Things haven’t quite worked out as planned. The Knicks look destined to finish with 60 or more (probably more) losses. The defense is a sieve, the offense is anemic at times, and hearing about moral victories and growth is becoming tiresome. There are certainly positive signs to the development of young players—mainly Kevin Knox—but the overall growth of the team and the culture is taking some time.
Brooklyn, on the other hand, is hitting its stride. The Nets were up and down out of the gate with Caris LeVert was playing like an All-Star. Unfortunately, he went down with a gruesome injury and the Nets were forced to try and survive without their engine. A horrid eight-game losing streak had some wondering whether or not Zion Williamson was the answer to their prayers.
But the Nets rebounded from their atrocious stretch with a seven-game winning streak. Now they’re winners of 18 of their last 23. The best win of this scorching hot stretch came in Houston on Jan. 16. Spencer Dinwiddie led a scintillating comeback victory over James Harden and the Houston Rockets.
It was the team’s best win of the season. It was Kenny Atkinson’s best win as a head coach. Heck, it’s probably the best regular season win the franchise has had since moving from New Jersey to Brooklyn.
But most importantly, it was an in-your-face example of why the Brooklyn Nets are the clear choice for any max free agents looking to settle in the Big Apple.