The Warriors' dynasty has come to the Knicks expense. Don Nelson got the last laugh at the Knicks by taking…
The Warriors’ dynasty has come to the Knicks expense.
Don Nelson got the last laugh at the Knicks by taking Stephen Curry with the seventh pick in 2009 – one spot ahead of Mike D’Antoni’s Knicks. The Curry-to-the-Knicks furor put the electric point guard out of Davidson on the lottery radar.
In 2014, Warriors ownership got lucky to get knocked out in the first round by the Clippers. Had Golden State advanced the second round, Kerr would be the Knicks head coach, cementing what had been a verbal agreement with Phil Jackson.
The Warriors came after Kerr hard, and Kerr asked Jackson permission to back out of the verbal agreement. The Warriors may or may not have gone to greatness with Mark Jackson, fired after the first-round loss.
Would the Knicks have been better off with Kerr than rookie triangle devotee Derek Fisher? That’s like asking if Napa Valley has any good places for red wine.
There’s only one way for the Knicks to get back at the Warriors ̵
1; by stealing Kevin Durant from Northern California this summer.
The Knicks are a mess now on the court. It would have been superb for Durant to see Friday night, in his lone visit to the Garden, a healthy Kristaps Porzingis drainage 3s and blocking shots.
It would have been wonderful for Durant to witness a healthy Kevin Knox impersonate a young KD – drainage 3s, gathering rebounds, speeding upcourt and to the hole with effortless grace.
Durant is Knox’s idol. As former Kentucky assistant coach Kenny Payne told The Post in June, he put Knox down on his first days at Kentucky and handed him a Durant montage to watch. Knox did – over and over. Porzingis is out indefinitely. Knox is at least another week or two away from a return.
Durant was not impressed by a billboard by the Garden imploring him to help “Make the Knicks Great Again.” Kerr joked Warriors PR Maven Raymond Knight cracked the billboard looked more like an homage to ex-Knick, ex-Warrior Clarence Weatherspoon.
But there’s reason to believe KD is going to take the Knicks seriously – as opposed to last time, when Phil Jackson could not get a sit down in East Hampton.
Rich Kleiman, born and bred in Manhattan, growing up a diehard Knicks fan, was expected at the Garden for Friday’s Warriors-Knicks matchup. Kleiman, who handled all the Hampton arrangements, is Durant’s manager / agent.
Durant and Kleiman owns a business out of New York and San Francisco entitled “Thirty Five Ventures,” which handles their projects under one umbrella. Knick’s president Steve Mills and Kleiman go back. At least the Knicks will be kept in the loop.
Durant has a fondness for New York, and his father, Wayne Pratt, is a longtime Knicks fan. That meant nothing last time, but maybe it means something this time, after Durant won his two rings. LeBron James once called the Garden his favorite arena to play in, but cold weather New York is clearly not his favorite city to live in.
So take Durant’s Garden comments Thursday night with a grain of salt if you wish, but this city is special to the Maryland area native.
“It’s like a playground with walls,” Durant said. “You walk outside and you’re right on the street. It feels like you’re playing at Rucker Park, just indoors. And that energy, I remember my first game as a rookie. I can remember I played pretty well. I had 30 that night. My family came up, and we stayed after the game, so we celebrated a little bit. But that energy – it’s just pure, pure love for the game at the Garden. “
During the 2011 lockout, I was at Rucker Park that August night Durant dropped 66 points. Fans mobbed Durant in Harlem at the game’s end. He tweeted:
“No lie, jus had one of the best times of my life at Rucker park..wow! I love NY … Harlem Waddup. “
Durant puts an opt-out in his contract for a purpose. GM Bob Myers may one day regret his championship-parade comment, when he implied. Curry’s status was more “earned” than Durant’s because he joined “in the way-before days.”
The Knicks did not get Curry in 2009 and owner James Dolan believed the media avalanche surrounding D’Antoni’s love affair with Curry prompted formerly fired Knicks coach Nelson to switch gears.
It’s time for payback this summer, KD style. Ten years later.