Ian Begley, SNY.tv | Twitter |
Ex-Net Jared Dudley has some interesting insight on Kevin Durant's decision to sign with the Nets (over the Knicks) and DeAndre Jordan's role in Brooklyn's acquisition of Durant and Kyrie Irving.
In an interview with ESPN's The Woj Pod, Dudley, who signed with the Lakers on Thursday, said Irving and Durant made the right decision to sign with Brooklyn "because of the organizational stability over there."
While making it clear that he wants the Knicks to do well because it's good for the NBA's business, Dudley believes that the Nets will usurp attention from the Knicks now that they have Durant and Irving.
"That place is going to be on fire," Dudley said of Barclays Center. "…. The Knicks get a lot of love and that is one of the best arenas they ever have in Madison Square Garden. But I'm telling you, even without Kevin Durant watch the vibe there (in Brooklyn). And then when Kevin Durant comes, within 2-3 years, no one's going to be like, 'Who are the Knicks getting in 2021?' No one is going to care. They're going to say, 'Hey can Kevin Durant lead them to a championship? That's going to be the headline."
Even with four straight seasons of 50-plus losses, the Knicks still managed to be among the NBA's leaders in attendance figures. Brooklyn has been in the lower third of the league in recent seasons. But that will likely change with Irving on the court next season. And it's probably going to spike even more when Durant returns.
Dudley said he spoke with Jordan, who was considering signing with the Knicks, a week or so before he made his decision. Jordan is considered a pivotal piece in how things transpired because he has a close relationship with Durant.
Dudley talked to Jordan, who reportedly agreed to a four-year, $40 million deal with Brooklyn, about the Nets' strengths.
"I told him all the good, it's 95 percent good over there," Dudley said. "It's one of the best practice facilities in the league. You can live in the city, because most players want to live in New York City and go there, they don't have to drive an hour to Westchester, to the Knicks practice facility. They have one of the best training staffs over there. It's probably triple the size, more than any (other team), 15-20 trainers from Australia to Canada, they bring them from all over. (Nets GM) Sean Marks does a phenomenal job. Great player development. (Head coach) Kenny Atkinson's a hard worker. They're missing a superstar, that's what they were missing.
"You've got to have some of that. I told (Jordan) that. He was talking about the Knicks. (If) Kevin Durant's out, the Knicks are going to be bad. Let's be honest, the Knicks are going to be bad. I wish them the best, I want the Knicks to be good. That's the funny thing. As a business, the NBA is better when the Knicks are good."
The Knicks acquired Jordan in the Kristaps Porzingis trade and had interest in re-signing him. It's unknown if they were prepared to sign him to the contract that Brooklyn offered, but it's fair to assume that they would have if it delivered Durant to New York. The New York Times reported that Jordan "was convinced in recent days that Barclays Center would be a more hospitable backdrop for Durant and Irving than Madison Square Garden and joined the chorus promoting the Nets."
It bears repeating that the Nets deserve a ton of credit for positioning themselves to land two of the top free agents on the market after being left barren in the wake of the Paul Pierce/Kevin Garnett trade. It's a remarkable turnaround and impeccable team building from everyone in the building. The Durant/Irving signings obviously come with risks, though.
As for the Knicks, they largely executed their plan in free agency once they missed on Durant. They said they weren't going to hand out any long-term contracts and they adhered to that policy, signing five players to two-year deals with team options for the second season. They also signed Julius Randle to a three-year deal that isn't fully guaranteed in the third season.
At some point, the belief here is that they need to add top talent with the cap space they acquired in the Porzingis trade to make it a win for the organization. If Porzingis doesn't return to his pre-injury production while in Dallas, that obviously impacts how you analyze the deal. But if he returns healthy (some who have seen him on the court recently say he looks great) and is productive, the Knicks will need to eventually get a solid return on that cap space for the trade to be seen as favorable.