Nets' Kevin Durant Says Knicks Aren't Cool Anymore

Alex Greenberg
October 08, 2019 - 1:27 pm
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He likely won’t play this season, but Kevin Durant was still the biggest fish available during the NBA’s crazy offseason free agency period.

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Durant, along with Kyrie Irving, opted to sign with the Nets instead of the Knicks, who have always been the premier basketball team in New York City. But things are different these days.

The injured Net appeared on “Ebro in the Morning” on Hot97 on Tuesday, and he had some shade for the team he spurned. Durant says the Knicks aren’t cool anymore.

"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,” said Durant. “I didn't grow up with the Knicks. 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.”

Kevin Durant
Mike Lawrie/Getty Images

The Knicks tanked in 2018-19 with hopes of winning the rights to draft Zion Williamson and signing an elite free agent, or two, to go along with him. They didn’t get the top pick in the draft, and they didn’t get those marquee free agents. Durant and Irving both went to Brooklyn, while Kawhi Leonard decided to head west to the Clippers.

Meanwhile, the Nets had an exciting young team last season. Their rebuild produced a playoff appearance before the Knicks’ did, and thus they already felt like the team in the city with the momentum even before they signed Durant, Irving and DeAndre Jordan.

Durant admits that he did give the Knicks a slight consideration, but ultimately chose Brooklyn because of the organization and the opportunity to play with two of his good friends.

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“I thought about it, yeah, just a thought. But I didn't really do any deep, full analysis on the Knicks … The organization, basketball is the most important thing for me, so playing with Kyrie, 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."

This wouldn’t be the first time an NBA player might have shied away from the Knicks due to the reputation of their organization and their ownership. Former Knick Enes Kanter claimed recently that James Dolan’s ownership scares free agents away from joining the team.