Britt McHenry: Kevin Durant’s missed opportunity with the Knicks


Kevin Durant may not be the anointed king of the NBA. No, that royal title is reserved for LeBron James. However, Durant consistently finds himself reigning royally supreme in NBA free agency — disappointment, that is.

The first time Durant hit the open waters, he let down small, wholesome Oklahoma City for shiny, lucrative Golden State. This time around, Durant gave the city that never sleeps another reason to have a restless night.


Durant signed a four-year deal reportedly worth $164 million to play with the Brooklyn Nets. So, if you’re across the Hudson River, you’re happy. For all the hipsters and creative artists who love basketball, it’s a coup.

But somewhere, a glistening tear is rolling down the cheek of New York Knicks owner James Dolan, and in every bar in midtown Manhattan, some beleaguered Knicks fan is drowning their sorrows.

It’s bad enough that the draft lottery system failed to secure the Knicks a number one draft pick where they could have added Zion Williamson to the roster. The Durant news is extra salt poured freshly into the wound.

There comes a time for every beaten-down fan base where you wonder … just when will the misery end? 

The Knicks last won a championship in 1973. The Cleveland Browns finally got a win last season, so a rebound for the Knicks has to be around the corner. Or so you would think.

Just like Durant’s move to Golden State brought jeers from super-team critics — and nicknames like “Cupcake” from his former teammate Russell Westbrook — this move seems equally superficial.

If Durant had gone to the Knicks, he could have been the true star of New York at Madison Square Garden. Why did he turn that down?

Because according to reports, the Knicks reasonably didn’t want to offer him a max deal after he suffered an Achilles injury at this year’s NBA Finals. Please note: it’s not often that “reasonably” and the Knicks get used in the same sentence.

Instead, Durant once again went where he could quietly assemble an advantage. Reportedly joining him in Brooklyn are fellow superstars Kyrie Irving and Deandre Jordan.

With LeBron buried on a poor Lakers roster and the Warriors in the rearview mirror in a much more difficult Western Conference, why not secure yourself an easy ticket to the Eastern Conference Finals?

In 2016, the phrase that best described Durant’s status was, “If you can’t beat them, join them.” He literally couldn’t beat the Warriors in the Western Conference Finals, so he went where it was easier to secure two rings.

In 2019, he’s still taking the easy way out, but this time, he drew up the game plan himself.

You don’t have to be a Knicks fan to acknowledge they keep getting the raw end of the deal. Durant had the rare ability to ignite a fan base so desperately in need of it and emerge as the fan-favorite his basketball talents dictate.


Once again, Durant disappointed sports fans, or at least this one.

Perhaps as a Brooklyn housewarming gift, Westbrook should send his former teammate a case of Georgetown Cupcakes — from another city Durant has snubbed. Better yet, everyone should show some love to every Knicks fan they know; they’re going to need it.

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