In recent NBA news, multiple Knicks executives have claimed that had Kevin Durant not injured his Achilles in the NBA Finals, he would have signed in New York this past offseason, rather than joining the Brooklyn Nets. This may seem like another classic Knicks quote, with no truth to it, but let’s take a deeper look into whether this may possibly be true.
Obviously, the Knicks did not have their dream offseason. None of Kyrie Irving, KD and Zion wound up on the Knicks. However, maybe this injury in the NBA finals may have had more to do with Durant’s free agency decision than we originally thought. There are a couple of logical reasons why him likely missing this entire season could have made him turn down the Knicks when they thought they had their biggest free agent in team history.
For one, the frustrated fan base, and dodgy ownership may have made it difficult for Durant to accept missing a year with the Knicks. The fans may have turned on the team and KD quite quickly if the team struggled mightily without him in year 1, making the team a toxic environment before he even set foot on the floor. There may have also been concerns about how his injury would be treated with a dysfunctional organization like the Knicks, especially concerning after the stories about him and Andre Iguodala’s injuries in Golden State.
The other reason that comes to mind, is the simple fact that the Knicks would not compete in a season without Durant the way the Nets will, and had been during this past season. Durant would not be able to watch his team in competitive games, and potentially playoff games with the Knicks without him playing. He could have faith that the Nets would be at least a competitive basketball team without him, allowing other players to also improve while he recovered.
At the end of the day, the Knicks were always a long shot, and the Nets simply had more to offer Durant in many ways. New York is no longer the Mecca of basketball it used to be, and it seemed unlikely Durant would leave Golden State.