The Knicks provided embarrassing moments under the failed James L. Dolan era that has been 18 years and counting whether it’s losing games, firing coaches and executives, throwing out fans, banning Knicks great Charles Oakley from Madison Square Garden and employing his failed executive Isiah Thomas despite being involved in a sexual harassment lawsuit.
But the final day of June topped it all when reports circulated Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving signing with the Nets as free agents.
After marinating this news for almost a month now, it does not change anything about this being the worst day in Knicks history. It hurts, and it should hurt. This is not a hot take. This is not to get clicks. This is not hyperbole. This is not an overreaction.
Here’s why it was the worst day in franchise history. Growing up as a Knicks fan in the 80s and 90s, I never thought anyone would prefer to play for the Nets over the Knicks. That was when the Knicks were the most popular team in town while the Nets were an afterthought after being what the Knicks are now being the losing franchise they are. No Knicks fans that grew up in that era envisioned that.
It’s bad enough the Los Angeles Lakers beat the Knicks at their own game by offering salary cap space and the glitz and glamour of their city, but it’s worse the Nets beat the Knicks at their own game by offering salary cap space, the city and young talent. Even the Los Angeles Clippers pulled off what the Lakers and Nets did on the Knicks by signing Kawhi Leonard and acquiring Paul George.
Durant and Irving sent a message to Dolan and the Knicks that no free agent of their ilk will ever play for that sorry organization as long as he owns the team. So there you have it, Knicks fans. Not only your team will never win with Dolan, but no stars are ever coming to work and play for an idiot.
The Knicks should have learned this in 2010 when LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh decided to team up in South Beach rather than play in the city. They did not want to ruin their careers playing for Dolan.
Remarkably, Knicks fans took the bait about Durant and Irving coming to their team. One would think they would learn after the 2010 debacle. P.T. Barnum was right on about there’s a sucker born every minute. It makes the Knicks fans look dumb.
No one should be surprised at what happened on the first day of free agency. Once the Knicks lost out on Zion Williamson and Ja Morant on lottery night, they were doomed. Sorry, but Durant and anyone of his ilk was not playing with RJ Barrett.
Face it. The Knicks were doomed when Dolan banned this Knicks fan from going to Knicks games for life after that poor soul told the rich, spoiled brat to sell the team in March. When TMZ Sports captured the video of what happened at the Garden, Dolan invited bad karma to creep in the team. The theory turned out to be true with the Knicks not winning the lottery, losing out on trading for Anthony Davis and having Irving and Durant play for the Nets over the Knicks.
The last day of June turned out to be the coup de grace for the Knicks. There’s no sugarcoating it. There’s no other way to say it.
No Knicks fan signed up for Julius Randle, Taj Gibson, Reggie Bullock, Bobby Portis, Wayne Ellington, Elfrid Payton and Marcus Morris (interesting he rather play for a loser than play for a winner in the Spurs or Clippers). Those guys signed with the Knicks on the first few days of free agency. It’s an equivalent of a booby prize. It looked like desperation just to show jilted Knicks fans they are trying. Oh by the way, the new Knicks don’t play defense either, so they fit right in with the Knicks culture.
Those guys are a waste of money. The Knicks need to develop with youth, not having useless veterans that offer the team nothing.
The Knicks provided yucks when ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne tweeted a story about Dolan not being interested in providing Durant the max because of his Achilles injury. Who knows if it’s true or not? My theory is this is a smokescreen. Hard to believe Dolan wants to lose out to the Nets for the biggest NBA offseason prize. Even if we play devil’s advocate, it’s a bad look because there’s no reason to throw it out there. It makes Dolan petty, and it only alienates agents from bringing their clients to the Knicks.
Understand this: Consequences will happen as a result of the Knicks losing out on Irving and Durant to the Nets. The younger generation of fans in the tri-state area could become Nets fans as a result of this signing. They have no affinity for the Knicks being they never saw a winning team once in their lives like the folks that are 40 or older who witnessed great times under Pat Riley’s Knicks in the 90s. No one can blame them if they did.
The Knicks owned a monopoly of this town for all these decades based on winning and brand. Those days are now over after what the Nets did in signing Durant and Irving. The Knicks will compete with the Nets to win the basketball fans in this town for the first time ever, and it may not look good because people are fed up with what Dolan has done with the Knicks since 2001.
It’s no wonder this is the Knicks’ lowest point as a franchise in what was a once proud history.
It’s something Dolan can’t live it down no matter how much he denies it.