NBA News: Kevin Durant Explains Why Free Agents Won’t Sign With New York Knicks

Kevin Durant during press conference with Nets
Mike Lawrie / Getty Images

Kevin Durant was heavily linked to the New York Knicks throughout the 2018-19 NBA season, which generated plenty of excitement among fans. This past offseason, the Knicks were rumored to be one of the favorites to land Durant in free agency, but he snubbed them by joining forces with Kyrie Irving on the Brooklyn Nets.

Over the past decade, the Knicks have attempted to recruit several free agents, most of whom ended up on a different team. As a destination, New York is highly appealing to NBA players, but the Knicks’ recent lack of success has made it difficult to attract the top free agents. Durant recently admitted that he thought about signing with the Knicks, although he didn’t fully explore it as an option.

“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. So, like, I didn’t grow up with the Knicks… well I’ve seen the Knicks in the Finals, but kids coming up after me didn’t see that. That whole brand of the Knicks, to them, is not as cool as let’s say a Golden State Warriors or… even the Lakers or the Nets now. You know what I’m saying? It’s like the cool thing right now is not the Knicks,” said Durant an appearance on Hot 97, per USA Today.

Knicks fans were hoping that Durant would elevate the franchise after missing the playoffs for six consecutive years. Since the team’s last appearance in the Eastern Conference Finals in 2000, the Knicks have only won one playoff round. As a result, Durant believes that free agents have been reluctant to commit to a franchise that hasn’t achieved notable success in a long time.

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Though the Knicks showed signs of resurgence in the early 2010s, the era of Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire couldn’t bring the franchise back to glory. The team is now banking on the potential of R.J. Barrett, the third overall pick of the 2019 NBA Draft.

As for Durant, he will be watching the season unfold from the sidelines given his claim that he won’t return from injury this year, as previously reported by The Inquisitr. With his recent remarks, it’s likely that the rivalry between the Knicks and the Nets will only intensify in the upcoming years. Of course, the Nets have an advantage for the time being after signing Durant and Irving.