NEW YORK — Carmelo Anthony was right when he said not every player is mentally equipped to play for the Knicks. Kevin Durant openly says that he didn’t want that burden.
While explaining why he “never planned” on signing with the Knicks in free agency, the Nets star said the attention and gravitas of the franchise was a turnoff. Instead of playing in the spotlight of the media and MSG, Durant said he preferred a relaxing destination in Brooklyn.
“Around February (of 2019) I was thinking, ‘I didn’t want to be the savior of the Knicks or New York.’ I didn’t care about being the King of New York. That never really moved me,” Durant said JJ Redick’s ‘The Old Man and the Three’ podcast. “I didn’t care about being on Broadway. I just want to play ball and go to the crib and chill. So I felt like that’s what Brooklyn embodied. And I wanted to live in New York. And I felt like Brooklyn is everything I’m about — chill, on the low, all-black everything, we’re quiet. Just focus on basketball. There’s no show when you come to our games. No Madison Square, no Mecca. All of that s---. We’re just going to hoop and build something new in Brooklyn.”
The Knicks, of course, have long sold the Garden and their marketing power as their top draws. Beyond Carmelo, no stars have bit. Durant stating that he decided against signing with the Knicks in February is still noteworthy for a couple reasons, namely because former team president Steve Mills traded Kristaps Porzingis on Jan. 31 to clear the cap space for signing two stars — presumably including Durant.