By Anthony Caruso III | Publisher
The New York Knicks fans had faith for months that they were going to be getting one of the marquee free agents on the market. However, they were sold a pipe dream that did not work out.
When Kristaps Porziņģis was traded to the Dallas Mavericks in February, the Knicks fans were told they were going to get either Kevin Durant and potentially Kyrie Irving. Instead, those two marquee free agents will be playing in the Knicks backyard at least for the next four years.
The Brooklyn Nets — who are approx. 44 minutes away via train — signed both of those players. In addition, they also signed DeAndre Jordan, who according to multiple sources is Durant’s best friend, to a four-year deal, as well.
According to the sources, these three players at one point considered signing with the Knicks. The same sources also indicated to The Capital Sports Report that Jordan was not happy with the Knicks after the February trade when the team elected to play younger players.
The deal happened on Jan. 31, 2019 when Porziņģis was sent to the Mavericks, along with Trey Burke, Tim Hardaway Jr., and Courtney Lee. In exchange, the Knicks received Jordan, Wesley Matthews, Dennis Smith Jr., a 2021 first-round draft pick and a 2023 first-round draft pick that is Top-10 protected.
This cleared more than $70 million in cap space to sign free agents. However, in the first day of free agency, Knicks fans have been in misery since they failed to get a big name.
There is only one marquee free agent left in Kawhi Leonard — and he is not expected to land in New York, either.
“While we understand that some Knicks fans could be disappointed with tonight’s news, we continue to be upbeat and confident in our plans to rebuild the Knicks to compete for championships in the future, through both the draft and targeted free agents,” the Knicks said in a statement on Sunday night.
The Knicks will have to see Irving at least for the next four years in a Nets jersey. Durant is a different story, as he is not expected to play in the 2019-20 season after suffering a torn Achilles in Game 5 of the NBA Finals against the Toronto Raptors.
Yet, this is not the first-time this situation has happened to the Knicks fans. In 2010, they also had a similar situation, where they had a boat load of cash to spend on free agents, but could only muster Amar’e Stoudemire. The 2010 free agent class also included LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, Dirk Nowitzki, Joe Johnson, Paul Pierce, Stoudemire, Rudy Gay, Carlos Boozer, and David Lee.
That summer, like this summer, New York had the most money to spend in free agency. They had $34.1 million to spend, while the New Jersey Nets had $29.9 million and the Miami Heat had $27.5 million.
Despite the Heat having $27.5 million, they were able to convince James to sign with the team. And they were able to convince Bosh to join the super team after a sign-and-trade with the Raptors — all while also re-signing Wade.
Stoudemire played four plus seasons with the Knicks. After a good first season in 2010-11, then things fell apart after that as he battled injuries in 2012-13 and 2013-14. Then, he had a bench role in 2014-15, before being released in February 2015.
While these are the not the players that Knicks fans wanted, they will be stuck with these players for the foreseeable future. Those players are Julius Randle, Taj Gibson, Bobby Ports, and Wayne Ellington.
For most of the Knicks fans, the team hasn’t been good for at least the last 20-years. While every opponent wants to have their best game at the Mecca at Madison Square Garden, nobody seems to want to go there to change their fortunes.
These fans will have to hope one day James Dolan will sell the team — and maybe, just maybe — that will lead these marquee free agents to sign with the Knicks.