Being cool isn’t usually a value that’s taken into consideration when it comes to success and attracting free agents to a given team. For the New York Knicks, they certainly haven’t been “cool” in quite some time, and Brooklyn Nets star signing Kevin Durant agrees. He also believes that’s a primary reason they cannot attract players to the Garden any longer.
“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,” Durant said. “… 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 the Golden State Warriors or even the Lakers or the Nets now. The cool thing right now is not the Knicks.”
Is Kevin Durant right about the New York Knicks?
From a psychological standpoint for younger players, he has a point, but building a team sometimes has to blossom the old fashion way — through consistently reliable draft picks.
The Knicks have failed to draft well for quite some time and are just now piecing together a decent team with a youth core. However, their current players seem to enjoy the idea of playing for the Knicks, as they have the opportunity to develop the organization into a “cool” place to feature.
Both Durant and Kyrie Irving were rumored to the Knicks this past offseason, and the whispers proved to be false. With the superstar duo heading to Brooklyn, the Knicks dove into the second-tier free agent pool, coming away with Julius Randle, Marcus Morris, Wayne Ellington, Taj Gibson, Bobby Portis, and Reggie Bullock.
There’s no question they have built a strong foundation of veterans, but the focus remains on their younger players — Kevin Knox, RJ Barrett, Mitchell Robinson, etc. The veterans are built around team-friendly contracts that allow them to move on after one/two seasons and pursue more prominent players during the 2020 offseason. In other terms, they’re using the veterans to catapult the team into a position of quality and leverage that will hopefully attract bigger names. Maybe then, the team will be considered “cool.”