After the Knicks cleared enough cap space to sign two max free agents and after months of rumors that had Kevin Durant all but guaranteed to land at The Garden, he went to Brooklyn instead. And Kyrie Irving went with him.
Beyond losing KD and Kyrie, the Knicks -- who have since spent most of their allotted cap space -- will also not be getting Kawhi Leonard (which was never expected to happen anyway).
While the Knicks once again whiffed on the big free agents, all is not lost. Here are five reasons to be optimistic...
They didn't make any panic moves
Once they knew the KD/Kyrie dream was dead, the Knicks could've made a panic move -- think overpaying for DeMarcus Cousins or offering a max deal to Tobias Harris. They didn't. Instead, the Knicks signed five players, but none on a deal longer than two guaranteed seasons.
Of the players the Knicks signed, Julius Randle -- a player the Knicks had their eyes on before the KD/Kyrie decisions were made -- might be the best of the bunch. The 24-year-old Randle averaged 21.4 points and 8.7 rebounds in 73 games last season for the Pelicans.
Could've overpaid for Cousins, Harris, etc. .. Julius Randle is good ...
They maintained roster flexibility
While they've used the majority of the cap space they cleared in the hopes that they would land a top free agent or two, the Knicks haven't added any players who have guaranteed deals beyond the 2020-21 season. And the 2020-21 offseason is the next one where there could be huge stars on the free agent market -- including Giannis Antetokounmpo.
While the Knicks kept the books clean beyond 2021, they also added players who could be tradable assets as early as this coming season.
They have a solid young core
After years of taking shortcuts to try to contend for a championship, the Knicks are staying the course with their young core. Mitchell Robinson could be a beast for years to come, Kevin Knox showed flashes last season and will play the entire 2019-20 season as a 20-year-old, Allonzo Trier will be back, and RJ Barrett was just added to the mix.
The Knicks are also in good shape when it comes to future draft picks, which they can use to add to their young core or as part of trades.
The Dolan effect might not be as bad as it used to be
James Dolan's presence certainly can't be viewed as anything but a negative, but after years of meddling, it seems he's taken a bit of a step back. He put the new hierarchy of Steve Mills and Scott Perry in place and has seemingly let them do their thing, which included hiring David Fizdale as head coach.
If Dolan can somehow stop making a scene at Madison Square Garden (having Charles Oakley banned, getting into it with fans on camera, etc.), that would be another step in the right direction.