Stephen A. Smith is channeling the anger and frustration of seemingly the entire New York Knicks fanbase at the start of free agency, laying waste to the franchise after not offering a max deal to Kevin Durant and letting him slip away to the hometown rival Brooklyn Nets.
For months, rumors had indicated that Durant would be joining the Knicks after opting out of his deal with the Golden State Warriors. Much like the rumors connecting LeBron James to the Los Angeles Lakers just a year before, it seemed to many a foregone conclusion that the Knicks would land the former NBA MVP and Durant would become the biggest star in the league’s biggest market. It did not work out that way this year, as Durant opted to join the Nets instead.
In the wake of Durant’s official announcement that he was going to Brooklyn, Stephen A. Smith couldn’t hold back his disgust with the Knicks. He blasted the franchise for failing to offer a max deal to Durant, essentially giving up on the race for him and creating a murkier future for a team that appeared to be on track for a rapid rebuild.
TSN Sports shared a clip of Smith’s anger with the Knicks on Twitter. The ESPN commentator took the Knicks to task for essentially taking a pass on one of the deepest free agent classes in many years, getting beaten out for Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant by the Brooklyn Nets and not even entering the sweepstakes for Kawhi Leonard or Klay Thompson. He then blasted the team for floating rumors that they might sign DeMarcus Cousins, which Smith said was an insult to anyone who was looking at the Knicks to make some real moves.
— TSN (@TSN_Sports) June 30, 2019
Stephen A. Smith may be the loudest, but he is far from alone in his criticism of the New York Knicks. Many others piled on the team for letting Durant pass them by while making just a few minor changes and doing little to change the team’s trajectory or try to compete in an increasingly competitive Eastern Conference.
When Rachel tells Stephen A the Knicks are interested in Bobby Portis and Reggie Bullock pic.twitter.com/QYFy1dh5O0
— Dan Wolken (@DanWolken) June 30, 2019
Knicks fans looking at mock drafts 2020-2030 pic.twitter.com/xeYkPBmStd
— Cameron Magruder (@ScooterMagruder) July 1, 2019
The Knicks weren’t entirely quiet in free agency. While they got beat out for Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, the team did reach a deal with Julius Randle, who will likely become the most recognizable player on a still-rebuilding team.
ESPN story on free agent Julius Randle agreeing to a $63M deal with the New York Knicks. https://t.co/Z3cMyCnHV3
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 30, 2019
Knicks title odds before signing Julius Randle: 100-1
Knicks title odds after signing Randle: 100-1 pic.twitter.com/BEK6ZUr5oE
— B/R Betting (@br_betting) June 30, 2019
It’s not what other moves, if any, the New York Knicks have planned for free agency.