After clearing enough salary-cap space to sign two max players, the New York Knicks headed into the 2019 NBA offseason with strong confidence that they could add multiple superstars to their roster. Unfortunately, after failing to acquire Anthony Davis from the New Orleans Pelicans, the Knicks were also snubbed by their top targets on the free agency market — Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant both ended up signing with New York’s other team, the Brooklyn Nets.
In a recent appearance on the Full 48 Podcast with Howard Beck, Boston Celtics center Enes Kanter, who started the 2018-19 NBA season in New York before being waived in February, shared an intriguing idea regarding why free agents aren’t interested in joining the Knicks.
“Not many people know that, but players talk,” Kanter said, as quoted by SportsNet New York. “From different teams, they talk. I’m not blaming anybody — I had an amazing time with the Knicks. But other teammates I talked to or if they’re on different teams, they always said, ‘Amazing city, MSG is amazing. Everything is so good, but the ownership.’ They always keep saying, ‘But the ownership.'”
Kanter also revealed that there were several players who aren’t fond of the Knicks’ ownership, specifically James Dolan. He added that those players were “scared” to play for the Knicks and don’t want to deal with the controversy surrounding the team.
“If the Knicks fans are listening, I always try to (tell) every player: the Knicks are an amazing team, crazy fans, MSG is amazing,” Kanter said. “Just come here. If you win here, you’re the king. But like I said, a lot of the players are scared.”
— The Jerusalem Post (@Jerusalem_Post) September 9, 2019
It’s hard to blame Enes Kanter for talking negatively about the Knicks, especially knowing how things ended for him in New York last season. However, his departure from the Knicks turned out to be a blessing in disguise as he was given the opportunity to play for a legitimate playoff contender in the Portland Trail Blazers, who managed to reach the Western Conference Finals for the first time since 2000. Still, it seems clear that the presence of Dolan as the Knicks’ owner is playing a major role in the team’s inability to land big names in the free agency market.
Despite failing to acquire their top targets this offseason, the Knicks remain very optimistic that they could add a legitimate NBA superstar on their roster. The Knicks purposely filled their roster with one-year contracts to maintain their salary cap flexibility for the summer of 2020. According to a previous report from The Inquisitr, the Knicks are expected to target the likes of Anthony Davis, Brandon Ingram, and Jaylen Brown in the 2020 NBA free agency period.