- The New York Knicks were big losers on the first day of free agency.
- After promising fans that the team would be signing superstars, the Knicks were forced to watch as the best players in the league went elsewhere.
- Most painfully was the duo of Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant, who both chose to sign with the Brooklyn Nets after months of speculation tied them to the Knicks.
- On Twitter, fans sounded off at the team for their failure to deliver, with some calling on owner James Dolan to sell the team.
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The New York Knicks had big plans for the 2019 offseason.
After trading away Kristaps Porzingis to the Dallas Mavericks, the Knicks front office all but promised that hope was on the horizon.
“Look, New York is the Mecca of basketball,” Knicks owner James Dolan told “The Michael Kay Show” back in March. “We hear from people all the time, from players and representatives about who wants to come.”
“I can tell you, from what we’ve heard,” Dolan concluded, “I think we’re gonna have a very successful offseason when it comes to free agents.”
The words inspired hope in Knicks fans starving for it, and with superstars like Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, Anthony Davis, and Kawhi Leonard all expected to at least consider changing teams in the coming offseason, there was reason to believe that New York might be able to put all of the money they had available to good use.
The Knicks faithful began filling out fantasy rosters in their minds. The team could win the first pick at the draft lottery and with it the rights to Zion Williamson, then follow that up by signing Durant and Irving in the summer, and immediately stake their claim as the new favorites to win the 2020 title.
Those hopes did not pan out.
New Orleans won the draft lottery, and on Sunday, Durant and Irving spurned the Knicks in favor of their New York neighbors, the Brooklyn Nets.
Fans were understandably furious.
RIP to the hopes and dreams of Knicks fans pic.twitter.com/EWsur4NcKE
— Wes Snyder (@OneEyedWes) July 1, 2019
Prominent Knicks fan and ESPN personality Stephen A. Smith was especially upset, telling “The Jump” that when the likes of Durant and Irving were promised, and the team instead signs lesser players, it’s hard to feel any other way.
— Rachel Nichols (@Rachel__Nichols) July 1, 2019
Some fans joked that they themselves or others had in fact received deals to join the Knicks.
Wow. Just woke up to the news that I somehow signed with the Knicks for 3 years/$21 million. I mean, I'm grateful, but this is not a prudent use of the team's salary cap space.
— Josh Gondelman (@joshgondelman) July 1, 2019
breaking: new york knicks sign stanley hudson to a 4-year $110 million deal. “we got the guy we wanted all along” said team officials pic.twitter.com/YJxX9stvuk
— Bob Vulfov (@bobvulfov) July 1, 2019
Things were arguably made worse when team president Steve Mills put out a semi-apology for fans who were disappointed with how the opening hours of free agency broke for the Knicks.
Statement from Knicks president Steve Mills: pic.twitter.com/2GnBHHmvT6
— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) July 1, 2019
Fans did not take Mills’ statement well.
— on the EdGe (@CosmodG24) July 1, 2019
— Kris (@5kl) July 1, 2019
The Knicks seriously just issued a statement about failing miserably to start free agency. What a world we live in.
— Jeff Smith (@JSM8ith) July 1, 2019
While the Knicks missed out on the biggest free agents on the market, some argued that the signings the team did make were smart and that the team could be seen as making progress.
The four signings in New York- Bobby Portis, Reggie Bullock, Wayne Ellington and Taj Gibson all have a team option for next year, league sources confirmed to ESPN. New York can develop their young kids, stay competitive and keep flexibility for 2020-21.
— Bobby Marks (@BobbyMarks42) July 1, 2019
Knicks have rounded out a competent roster. It's almost as if if they didn't set ridiculously high expectations for themselves, we'd be talking about them in a totally different light.
— Kristian Winfield (@Krisplashed) July 1, 2019
Others were less optimistic.
Competitive with who, exactly? https://t.co/loTjVxY1lq
— Myles Udland (@MylesUdland) July 1, 2019
Some called on Dolan to sell the team.
James Dolan should be forced to sell the team so Knicks fans can own it like the Green Bay Packers https://t.co/EsFGIcW5zC
— Kyle Neubeck (@KyleNeubeck) July 1, 2019
James Dolan has to sell the Knicks, it's as simple as that. I don't know what it will take: Adam Silver behind the scenes with the other owners, the fanbase quitting on franchise, massive offer from [__________]?
The status quo is just completely and utterly unsustainable.
— Jamie O'Grady ???? (@JamieOGrady) June 30, 2019
Jim Dolan needs to sell the @nyknicks. He will never bring that team anything. The fans and city deserve better.
— Jim Brian Russell (@JimBrianRussell) July 1, 2019
And others called for more drastic action to be taken in order to secure the future of the franchise.
The city of New York must seize the Knicks and throw James Dolan in jail
— Alex Shephard (@alex_shephard) July 1, 2019
After building up the hopes of the city, it’s understandable that Knicks fans reacted so harshly to the team’s failure to sign a star. The fact that two of the biggest prizes on the market spurned them for the Nets only makes the pain worse.
The 2019 free agency market was a wild one, and the superstar market won’t be this hot again until the summer of 2021 when the likes of Giannis Antetokounmpo and Bradley Beal could be looking for new deals.
But with this year such a failure, fans don’t seem hopeful at the Knicks chances of another free agency push.
The Knicks traded Kristaps Porzingis so that they could sign Julius Randle, Bobby Portis and Taj Gibson so that they can preserve their cap space so that they can be rejected by Giannis in 2021.
— Josh Lewenberg (@JLew1050) July 1, 2019
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