Kevin Durant talked about the decision to go to Brooklyn and touched on the Knicks saying that “…players have grown up watching the Knicks suck and they aren’t cool anymore.” All-Star players of today don’t remember the Knicks as a team coached by Pat Riley, starring Patrick Ewing, John Starks, Derek Harper, and Charles Oakley. They think of a short Melo phase and those two weeks of Linsanity, the rest being more-less a disaster.
This is where the Knicks and Lakers differ. Both in two of the most attractive NBA cities, the Lakers managed to maintain their reputation with Shaq, Kobe, and better ownership – but not all is lost. It seems KD wasn’t entirely right when it comes to the Knicks appeal. Talking about the Anthony Davis trade, his agent Rich Paul mentioned that only two teams had a realistic shot at trading for him from the Pelicans (via ESPN):
“[Davis] wanted to go to two places: New York or L.A,” Paul reflects. “After the draft [lottery], I was able to see where everything lies. The fact that [the Pelicans] were going to get the first pick caused me to understand that it softened the blow of losing Anthony Davis because the organization could still have some momentum. “Now, where he would go was up to who was going to step up and give the best offer.”
The Lakers came in with a monster offer of the No. 4 pick, Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, and Josh Hart, as well as a 2021 first-rounder protected Nos. 9-30 (which becomes unprotected in 2022), first-round swap rights in 2023, and a 2024 first-round pick with the option to defer to 2025. The Knicks realistically did not have enough assets to outbid them.
But, their offer might have been much better if they hadn’t traded Porzingis to Dallas before all this went down. It’s hard to know if KP would’ve committed to staying in New Orleans, a likely condition for the Pelicans, but it does add salt to the wound for New York. No KD and Kyrie, no Zion, and not being able to make your best offer for Davis.