The New York Knicks are arguably the biggest market in the entire NBA, but they haven’t made it past the first round of the playoffs in nearly a decade.
Despite their billion-dollar price tag and obvious appeal being situated within one of the most famous cities in the world, year after year, the franchise struggled to attract elite talent that would place them among the league’s best.
Arenas speaks the truth
It remains one of the NBA’s more perplexing paradoxes, but former NBA star Gilbert Arenas recently shared why high-level talent doesn’t want to play for the organization.
“Every single star loves the Garden, they love the Garden because it’s one of the only places that a star can come and actually get cheers from the opposing crowd. That’s what they don’t understand. So they’ll be like everybody wants to play in the Garden, yes, besides the Knicks. Everybody wants to play in the Garden, because you don’t boo nobody. Kobe comes in there it’s Kobe time, Steph comes in there hits 15 threes, you’re cheering them. So as a player I’m guarding the guy you are cheering for, what the f**k is this?”
It’s hard to argue with Arenas’ point, as there have been multiple occasions in which Knicks fans have given opposition players a standing ovation in seasons past.
The search for a superstar goes on
A prime example of the Knicks losing out on superstar talent was in the summer of 2019, as they were seemingly in the race for free agents Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant. The front office had high hopes of luring both scorers to the Garden, but the pair opted to sign for cross-town rival Brooklyn Nets instead.
Due to their inability to acquire star power every offseason, the franchise has pivoted to a younger direction with a focus on developing players under a longer-term vision.
This past summer, they signed point guard Jalen Brunson in free agency; however, his acquisition is a far cry from the type of talent they need to ascend into title contenders in the East.
The closest player the Knicks have come to a star in recent seasons has been power forward Julius Randle, who played his way into an All-Star appearance against all odds in 2021.
Unfortunately, it seems the Knicks faithful may need to wait a little longer for a top 10 player to join them.
In the meantime, their fight for a playoff spot is well and truly underway as they sit 12th in the East with a 9-11 record.