While the Knicks had hoped they would land Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving in free agency, the two superstar free agents reportedly knew "months ago" they would not join the Knicks, according to Bleacher Report's Howard Beck.
Durant and Irving agreed to sign four-year max contracts with the Brooklyn Nets on Sunday, a move that prompted Knicks president Steve Mills, who cleared enough cap space for two max free agent slots with the Kristaps Porzingis trade, to release a statement empathizing with "disappointed" fans.
The two superstars knew prior to the 2018-19 season that they would be teaming up this summer, Beck writes.
The two of them previously discussed teaming up with the Knicks, with SNY's Ian Begley hearing throughout the season that they were at the top of their desired wish list. However their poor season that led them to the NBA's worst record impacted their views, according to Beck.
"And neither Irving nor Durant were eager to wear the 'savior' mantle that's thrust upon every star player, coach or executive who lands at Madison Square Garden," Beck wrote.
In fact, Durant "never considered going to the Knicks alone," according to Beck.
Instead, they chose the Nets, who went from a 20-win team in 2016-17 to a 42-win team that made the playoffs last year. One of thosee reasons: GM Sean Marks.
"The stars were impressed by Marks, a San Antonio Spurs disciple who favors a low-key, no-nonsense, egoless management style," Beck wrote.
Durant's Achilles injury, which he suffered during Game 5 of the NBA Finals and will likely keep him out for the 2019-20 season, had no impact on their decision, as Beck writes the two of them had an "outline of a plan" in place prior to the playoffs.
Instead of landing two players who have combined for three NBA titles and 16 All-Star Game appearances, the Knicks have turned their attention elsewhere. They agreed to terms with Julius Randle (three years, $63 million), Taj Gibson (two years, $20 million), Bobby Portis (two years, $31 million), Wayne Ellington (two years, $16 million) and Elfrid Peyton (two years, $16 million).