Kevin Durant isn’t built for the pressure of playing in the ‘mecca’.
Durant doubled down on his claim that the New York Knicks was never an option during his free agency last year.
The Knicks were made to believe they had an inside track on Durant and another star free agent of his liking. But as it turned out, it wasn’t the case.
“I never planned on going to the Knicks. That was just the media putting that out there especially when I didn’t sign a 3-year deal that previous summer. Once I signed a 1+1, just the noise got louder around me just going to the Knicks for some reason. The Knicks need a savior, you know how that goes. Every time a big free agent is up, the Knicks are going to get him. It just took off,” Durant said in The Old Man and the Three Podcast.
The Brooklyn Nets star accused the media for spreading the rumor during his tumultuous last season with the Golden State Warriors. His former teammate Draymond Green publicly feuded with him which put a strain in their locker room chemistry. While it was injuries, which ultimately caused their downfall in the Finals, it was clear that all the drama that surrounded the Warriors factored in his decision to leave.
“Once the media infiltrated our locker room with that Draymond situation, they just ran with the rumors even more and it just got so loud every single day. I think the media just hyped it up and just wanted to make drama around the team and around me so much that they made up this Knicks thing,” said Durant who called media in the Bay area as the “worst” and “obsessed” with his free agency.
The Knicks never had the chance to get an audience with Durant nor with any marquee free agents. With the stars spurning them, they signed ill-fitted veterans to short deals to maintain cap flexibility.
“Around February, I was thinking I didn’t want to be the savior of the Knicks or New York. I didn’t care about being the king of New York. That never really moved me. I didn’t care about being on Broadway. I just wanted to play ball and go to the crib and chill. I felt like that’s what Brooklyn embodied,” Durant said.
The Nets are hoping the trio of Durant, Kyrie Irving, and rookie coach Steve Nash will usher in a new era in Brooklyn as they aim to take over New York from the Knicks starting next season.
“Brooklyn was everything I’m about: chill, on the low, all black, we quiet, just focus on basketball. There’s no show when you come to our games. No Madison Square mecca, all of that s–t. We just gonna hoop and build something new in Brooklyn,” Durant added.
The Knicks, meanwhile, are hoping to change that negative perception around them with the arrival of new team president Leon Rose and coach Tom Thibodeau to usher in a real rebuild. And they hope to acquire a star with a mentality to take on the challenge of leading the Knicks out of the doldrums.