Knicks fans feel like they were delivered another death blow when the No.1 pick in the NBA Draft Lottery went to the New Orleans Pelicans, essentially crushing any hopes the city had of building a championship squad around heralded rookie Zion Williamson. The below skit from Showtime’s Desus & Mero, pretty much sums up that feeling in one tweet.
Jada, Fat Joe, Desus & Mero watching the Draft Lottery makes me feel at home… 💔 #knickstape #fingerroll https://t.co/8RtV1ljglM
Spirits around the Mecca have been down since that day. The silver lining in all of this is that the consensus opinion for the past year has been that KD will be signing with the Knicks this summer and bringing an elite friend along. When you’ve suffered through as much emotional pain and adversity, losing and embarrassment as Knicks fans have over the past decade, rushing like a bull in a china shop towards any light at the end of the tunnel, is understandable.
Knicks fans have put all of their emotional chips in Durant’s whimsical basket and the recent news coming out of his camp can’t possibly help them feel any better about their situation. While speaking to Jason Gay at Wall Street Journal‘s Future of Everything Festival, Rich Kleiman, Kevin Durant’s business manager, says the current Golden State Warriors star — contrary to popular opinion — is “100 percent undecided” about where he will eventually end up following the 2018-19 season.
“That is 100 percent undecided,” said Kleiman, who is also co-founder of Durant’s corporation Thirty-Five ventures, which serves as the umbrella for all Durant’s Business interests across sports, culture, film production and more.
Kevin Durant is “100 percent undecided” on where he’s playing next, his manager @RichKleiman says at The #WSJFuture Of Everything Festival. “He really doesn’t know, and I really don’t know.” https://t.co/1fEw2kYZqm
“I think there’s a feeling this thing is like war games and everybody is playing chess years out but when somebody gets to the level of basketball that he’s at, you can’t juggle focus like that there are so many things he’s juggling too. He’s not scripting his future while he’s playing the way he plays and practices the way he practices. I think it’s frustrating, honestly, at times. I get it.”
When asked about the reports that he already has an unofficial handshake with the Knicks, similar to how everyone knew LeBron was going to the Lakes months before he announced the inevitable Kleinman said, “ I’m waiting on Kevin, that’s the truth….
“When somebody gets to his level of basketball, you can’t juggle focus like that,” Kleinman insisted.”He’s not scripting his future while he’s playing the way he plays and practices the way he practices. He really doesn’t know and I really don’t know. ..He’s really focused on trying to win a championship. He will make the decision after the season is over.”
Kleinman’s comments don’t eliminate the Knicks from the KD sweepstakes, but it isn’t a vote of confidence either. Sure, he could be lying about KD being undecided, in order to respect the Warriors and stay focused on winning another championship.
On the other hand, it was a first-person annihilation of reports that KD is simply playing out this season before taking his future Hall of Fame game to The Big Apple. So where does the stone belief come from that he’s going to the Knicks?
According to ESPN’s Jay Williams, KD’s close friend and business partner, “It’s not coming from his camp. I’ve been around this camp all day every day since we been filming the boardroom last year. We’ve been in very intimate settings and have not spoken about it. Somebody else is playing that game but it’s not coming from them.”
That means that anything that is being reported by these so-called NBA insiders is mere hogwash and things are just thrown into the Twittersphere to get retweets, spark a conversation and keep the spotlight on them. As a native New Yorker, when I hear things like, “Durant to NY is a done deal,” of course I would rather believe it because it would be one of the greatest moments in team history.
However, Durant’s recent calf injury, which might cause him to miss the entire NBA Finals also might change things. What if the injury, which some people thought was an Achilles, turns out to be more serious.
If Kevin Durant has a calf strain, why isn’t he in attendance sitting at the end of the bench? Injured players stay away when the condition is more severe. Read Achilles strain or tear. Anything to NOT give the… https://t.co/X3t3Zx9LjC
That could change the entire free agency and how Durant is pursued by certain teams. It could also make him more eager to go with a bird in the hand and resign with Golden State, rather than carry the burden of being the Knicks savior while recovering from an injury.
That would be a bad look in New York and not the start he would want to his new journey. The NBA needs situations like these to keep the fans locked in during the offseason and to stay in the public eye.
I’m sure Adam Silver welcomes all of the hyperbole and opinions and passionate expression via social media. It definitely can’t hurt the NBA.
However, Kleiman basically let it be known that the optimism should be severely tempered. If Knicks fans want to work themselves up in a frenzy, only to be let down again come July, that’s their business. It would be worse if Kleinman came right out and said Durant “wasn’t going to NY’ or Durant was “going back to Golden State.”
For now, Kleinman just wants us to know not to blame KD if things don’t fall our way because he’s not committed to any franchise. As much as Team KD denies it, they are indeed playing chess.