According to ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne, the Knicks and owner James Dolan were not prepared to offer Durant a max contract due to concerns over his Achilles injury and the associated recovery.
The Knicks landed free agents such as Julius Randle and Bobby Portis, hardly superstar caliber talent, but it leaves the Knicks with over $80 million in available cap space as they continue to work in free agency.
Unfortunately, talent is being scooped up, with the Knicks currently on the outside looking in and no longer able to use the market-appeal of New York City, and their storied history, to lure in superstars as they were able to do years ago.
Additionally, the team had issues even getting interest from Irving.
According to Frank Isola of The Athletic, Irving had questions about the Knicks’ management which ultimately pulled him away from the Knicks and pushed him, even more, in the direction of the Brooklyn Nets, his preferred destination all along.
It’s clear that James Dolan’s handling of this once-prized franchise is pushing this franchise even further down the toilet.
The Knicks are already in full damage control following their failures in early free agency and release the following.
“While we understand that some Knicks fans could be disappointed with tonight’s news, we continue to be upbeat and confident in our plans to rebuild the Knicks to compete for championships in the future, through both the draft and targeted free agents,” Knicks team president Steve Mills said in statement, per Marc Stein of The New York Times.
It’s also easy to argue that the Brooklyn Nets are now the top basketball team in the New York state, snatching the crown from the long-suffering Knicks franchise.