Are the New York Knicks taking the proper course towards rebuilding?
Minutes before the 6:00 p.m. start of free agency on June 30, 2019, Kevin Durant announced on Instagram that he was taking his talents to the Brooklyn Nets. At 7:35 p.m. the same evening, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski tweeted this New York Knicks news:
"Free agent Julius Randle has agreed to a three-year, $63M deal with the New York Knicks, CAA agents Aaron Mintz and Steve Heumann tell ESPN."
Everyone wondered: what did the Knicks think they were doing? They cursed the front office. Chants of “sell the team” were everywhere. They never met with Kevin Durant? They never talked with Kawhi Leonard?!
The Knicks front office had a Plan B for every Plan A that fell through, and it looks as though their Plan Bs will work out.
One hour, thirty-five minutes later. Knicks President Steve Mills has maintained that if they were not able to get any max players they would continue to build through the draft and free agency. His statement, released through a tweet from the Knicks Public Relations department:
Taking a look at the free agents and draft picks this off-season, the Knicks have a motley crew of young people who feel they have a lot to prove to this city and if you’ve noticed, they’re working hard to get in shape to do it. Words from the top are meaningless unless the players all share in this rebuild together. How do the players feel about this? From this writer’s perspective, they want to silence the naysayers. In the media, and in this City.
"It’s a dream come true for me. Being able to play for this iconic franchise and to have this opportunity ahead of me, I’m very excited."
Randle, who some perceive will be the team leader, has shown that excitement in the work he’s exhibiting in the gym this off-season. The Knicks’ Twitter feed shows many of the young core hard at work and Randle is one of them. He has also been seen around the city. He made a stop in a Washington Heights Foot Locker grand opening, speaking to some Knicks’ fans.
Another player, not silent at all about his feelings on being a Knick, making the playoffs this season, and showing the league just what this team is made of, is Dennis Smith, Jr. In an interview with MSG, he states: “Summertime is the perfect time to improve your shot.” Smith’s and the Knicks’ Twitter have many videos of his workouts to build up his body.
Not just Randle and Smith. Kevin Knox is another who is working hard to make his second year better than his first. He is also bonding with the rookies RJ Barrett and Ignas Bradzeikis, sharing the good, and bad experiences they may meet in their first year.
A failure of an off-season has now begun to look much brighter. The New York Knicks are an “iconic franchise.” A franchise fighting to get back to iconic status. It has a front office that has stuck to its word. A coaching staff with the players it needs to fit into the defensive system they say will send them back to the playoffs, and players with something to prove, that are ready to get there. Will the rebuilding work this time?