Heading into the afternoon on Sunday, June 30th, rumors started swirling that the free agent targets of the Knicks were going across the Brooklyn Bridge to the Nets.
Knicks fans saw their hopes crushed when both Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant officially announced that the would be playing at Barclays in Brooklyn, and not MSG.
Then, players were going everywhere else but New York. Even the Bronx’s Kemba Walker went to, of all places, Boston. The Knicks responded by signing Julius Randle, Taj Gibson, and a few other players, and the internet went off.
Despite the new three-headed leadership of Steve Mills, Scott Perry and David Fizdale, clearing all of that cap room and tanking last season, the Knicks could not secure even one big name from the All-Star free agency pool of 2019. It appeared that the team would continue to be cursed, and almost every fan pointed their fingers directly at team owner….er, Governor, Jim Dolan.
Yet while Stephen A. Smith went off on his hometown team and fans across the country laughed, Knicks brass was quietly making moves that would not only improve the team, but also help usher in a new culture and attitude into the MSG that was desperately in need of change and, more importantly, wins.
Thursday night, their hard work paid off through another free signing.
Eight-year NBA veteran, Marcus Morris, decided to reject an offer by the Spurs in order to sign a one-year, $15 million deal with the Knicks. After spending the last two seasons with Boston, where he averaged 13.8 ppg and 5.8 ppg, Morris reneged on the two-year, $20 million deal that he verbally agreed to with San Antonio in order to head to MSG.
The Knicks were able to pursue Morris after reworking the original deal with free-agent forward, Reggie Bullock. Bullock’s two-year, $21 deal was restructured over concerns about Bullock being able to play the entire 2019-2020 season.
While Morris isn’t an All-Star like Kyrie or Durant, he gives the team another vet who can definitely play and who can help tutor some of the team’s younger and talented players. This move demonstrates that a few good players have recognized that the Knicks are ridding themselves of the toxic culture which surrounded the Garden for too long.
And while they haven’t transformed it into a championship culture yet, it’s a few more steps in the right direction. For the sake of all Knicks fans, let’s hope that movement continues.