Unsurprisingly, management was stunned after Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving spurned the New York Knicks for the Brooklyn Nets.
The New York Knicks moved all their chips into the middle of the table for the 2019 free-agent class. Unfortunately for fans of the orange and blue, the marquee names didn’t want anything to do with the Knickerbockers.
“While the Knicks have spun this notion that they didn’t want meetings with either player — as well as Kawhi Leonard — a team source insists that management was ‘stunned and depressed’ when they learned that Irving and Durant picked the other team in town,” wrote Frank Isola of The Athletic.
The Knicks had to pivot to second and third-tier free agents after missing out on the extensive crop of superstars. It should be noted that New York will be much more talented this season, but that doesn’t change the fact that they whiffed on guys like Durant and Irving.
The Knicks traded away Kristaps Porzingis for more than one reason. But clearing enough cap space to sign two max free agents was at the top of the list.
With all that said, free agency is in the past. The only way to ensure that 2019 doesn’t happen again in 2021 is by winning games. That blueprint was used by the Nets to land Durant and Irving in the first place.