Kevin Durant doesn’t believe the Knicks have a popular brand with the young players, he said in an interview on Tuesday with Hot 97 Radio in New York.
Durant signed with the nearby Brooklyn Nets this past off season, and stated that the Knicks were not much of a thought for him in free agency. “I thought about it, yeah, just a thought. But I didn’t really do any full analysis on the Knicks,” he said.
He went on to state that the young players these days do not hold the Knicks in high regard because they have not grown up with them winning.
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“I think a lot of fans look at the Knicks as a brand and expect these younger players 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. So that whole brand of the Knicks is not as cool as let’s say the Golden State Warriors, or even the Lakers or the Nets now.”
Some teams have gotten by the rebuilding phases with a franchise name, such as the LA Lakers, their rivals the Boston Celtics, and for awhile, the New York Knicks. But Durant points out that, in order to have that franchise name, you have had to win in the lifetime of the younger players, or else there is no legacy for them to be nostalgic about. Lakers won with Kobe Bryant. Celtics with the big three Paul Pierce, Ray Allen, Kevin Garnett (and you could throw Rajon Rondo in the mix).
But for Durant’s example look at the Chicago Bulls. One of the most dominant teams that ever existed, they spent a whole decade on top, featuring Hall of Famers Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen and Dennis Rodman. But that was in the 90’s, and no superstar is rushing to sign with them, they way Lebron James and Anthony Davis did with the Lakers, Russell Westbrook did with the Houston Rockets, and Kahwi Leonard did with the LA Clippers.
So maybe Durant is right — the Knicks model for recruiting has got to be more than their legacy.
Durant will not play this year as he recovers from an Achilles injury suffered in the NBA Finals with the Warriors.