The New York Knicks are one of the most iconic franchises in sports. So, how did they let Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving get away in free agency ... to their crosstown rival, no less?
According to Durant, it's because the Knicks' so-called aura doesn't have as much sway as you think.
In an interview Tuesday on New York's Hot97 FM, the new Brooklyn Nets forward suggested the league's free agents view New York more by its recent struggles than its distant history of success.
"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 told the "Ebro in the Morning Show, via SNY's Ian Begley.
"I didn't grow up with the Knicks. 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 to them is not as cool as, let's say, the Golden State Warriors or even the Lakers or the Nets now.
"It's like, the cool thing right now is not the Knicks."
Durant is right about one thing: The Knicks have made the playoffs just twice in the last 15 years and won only one playoff series in the 21st century, so younger players don't associate them with winning.
It's not like the Nets are a model of success, though: Their winning campaign in 2018-19 was only their third in the least 10 years, the same number as New York in that span.
But the arrow in Brooklyn is pointing up, and the hype surrounding the franchise was enough for Durant and Irving to ditch the Golden State Warriors and Boston Celtics, respectively. (At least New York got Marcus Morris!)
Durant will miss the entire 2019-20 season due to an Achilles injury, so it will be up to Irving to prove the Nets are cooler than their cross-town rival this year.
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