Although there were plenty of photoshops of Kevin Durant in a New York Knicks uniform, the Brooklyn Nets were the dealmakers in free agency.
Listen, this is just adding insult to injury for New York Knicks fans. But the fact of the matter is they weren’t even in the running to sign Kevin Durant. It was always the Brooklyn Nets or Golden State Warriors according to the two-time NBA Finals MVP.
“If I was leaving the Warriors, it was always going to be for the Nets,” Durant said via Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports. “They got the pieces and a creative front office. I just like what they were building.”
This seems obvious now, but it wasn’t something that many people expected. The general consensus for much of the 2018-19 season was that Durant was leaning towards a future with the Knicks.
However, some of us (*raises hand*) knew that Brooklyn’s all-out sprint for a playoff spot would help their cause in free agency. Durant saw a team that knew how to develop players, had a solid coaching staff in place, and an opportunity to play with another superstar.
The Knicks, on the other hand, traded away Kristaps Porzingis and tanked away the season. Like the Nets, the Knicks had the salary-cap space to sign two superstar players. But that’s all they had.
The Knicks missed out on Zion Williamson despite having the worst record in the league and tying a franchise-worst season. In the end, the Knicks were not ready to woo a free agent like Durant or Kyrie Irving.
That being said, they have a young core and cap flexibility moving forward. Perhaps they can use Brooklyn as a case study for how to build a team that can attract a major free agent.