We have been saying this since the beginning of the season, but FS1 NBA analyst Ric Bucher basically confirmed that Golden State Warriors All-Star Kevin Durant will be leaving in free agency and all signs point to the New York Knicks as his next destination.
Bill Simmons went as far as saying it’s a done deal.
From everything I’ve heard, it’s done. Yes, he’s leaving… If he so much as gets [the Knicks] into the Conference Finals, he will be beloved there like he never has been at Golden State after 2 Championships.” @RicBucher on Kevin Durant’s free agency https://t.co/eCHgKQxKTF
It may be a hard pill for some to swallow. It might also be a pipe dream that has grown legs because of social media and tabloid journalism. To say there’s no reason for KD to join the Knicks, however, is hater talk.
Here’s 5 reasons why it benefits KD to suit up for the NY Knicks for the 2019-20 season.
1. The Knicks have been bad for long enough. It’s indisputable that when Madison Square Garden is rocking and they are relevant, basketball benefits from it.
Despite a streak of losing that has become unbearable, the New York Knicks are still the NBA’s highest valued franchise, worth $4 billion by Forbes’ count, up 11% from a year ago. The club is tied with the New York Yankees as the second-most-valuable U.S. sports franchises after the Dallas Cowboys, which is worth $5 billion.
Envision the Knicks winning and KD as the root of a massive turnaround. He’d go from Top 3 NBA player to a cultural God, King of the media capital of the word. LeBron James who?
Back in October, NBA Insider Chris Haynes said New York has a good chance of luring the former MVP away from Golden State in free agency next offseason.
New York Knicks have a very good shot at luring KD away from the Bay Area. … The same allure that LeBron had towards the Los Angeles Lakers, just the building, the culture, is the same way I know that KD feels about the Knicks.” – @ChrisBHaynes https://t.co/04xDGmLA2k
2. KD will probably win his third championship with Golden State, amidst some locker room drama and personality conflicts that have all but ensured his departure. A ton of squads will be vying for the lanky laser-launcher’s services and the average fan — not understanding what the NY Knicks truly mean to the NBA and the popularity of the league — will criticize KD’s move to the Big Apple.
His championship thirst has more than been quenched and he is still in his prime and able to accept new challenges.
In the same way LeBron went to LA to pursue a certain quality of life and build on his massive entrepreneurial endeavors, KD — who is building a business empire of his own — would have immediate access to all of New York’s off-the-court trimmings.
3. KD’s legacy is still a bit tainted in some people’s eyes because he left an OKC team that lost in the Western Conference Championship and joined the juggernaut 73-win team that eliminated them. He will forever be known as a bandwagon jumper to a large contingent of NBA fans.
His talent and performance is respected, but his reputation as a bonafide champion-killer is still up in the air, even after two Finals MVP awards. Building the Knicks into a championship contender would erase all of the bad vibes concerning his cakewalk with the Super Team Warriors.
The “can’t beat em’,then join em'” tag that he carries like a Scarlet Letter would transform into a positive narrative in which KD could have stayed in Golden State but decided to embrace NYC and the Knicks when the city was at its lowest and looking for a hero with some guts to invigorate a failing hoops spirit.
Knicks Big Three
4. Turning the Knicks into contenders would be the ultimate challenge at this point. They are a 15-win team with the worst record in the NBA and less talent than the Duke Blue Devils. However, if you peek into the future and a couple of the dice roll in New York’s favor, then the town could be looking at a Top 5 team in the conference by the end of next season.
If KD commits, then it is assumed that Kyrie Irving or Kemba Walker will come to NY as well. That gives the Knicks two All-Stars to combine with the potential No. 1 pick Zion Williamson. Even if they drop to No. 2 they will get Ja Morant or RJ Barrett, both NBA-ready stars who can help Durant carry the scoring load.
Fortune changes quickly in this world of NBA free agency and constantly moving parts. The Knicks could easily be the beneficiary of such a chain of events.
Odds. Luck. Timing. Talent.
5. The Knicks have lacked all four in recent years. It’s time for the bad luck to reverse itself. That’s just how life goes. While Knicks haters would like them to remain putrid forever, the world revolves at 360 degrees and now is as good a time as any for a changing of the guard in the NBA. A rebirth of a once legendary franchise and a basketball rebirth in The Mecca.