While the prime free agents for the Knicks' summer shopping are almost all still padding their résumés, Knicks coach David Fizdale took to ESPN to begin the franchise’s pitch.
Fizdale was a guest on "The Jump" on Monday afternoon and insisted, despite the 17-65 record in his first year as coach of the team that has struggled for the better part of two decades, the Knicks have something to draw the top players to join in.
“[We’re having] a lot of conversations, a lot of angles that we’re trying to make sure that we show guys when they come in,” Fizdale said. ”I think we’ve got a lot of positive things to show. [GM] Scott Perry and [president] Steve Mills have done a heck of a job laying this thing out. We’ve got the most cap space. We have seven picks over five years, which means whoever we do get, we can continue to build around them, and I think that’s a great position to be in. We did all that in a course of a year and we laid down our culture, so I’m really excited about where we’re at.”
The Knicks have little to sell in terms of success under this regime — or among nearly any that have taken the floor at Madison Square Garden for the last 19 years. The Knicks have won one playoff series since 2000 and this year’s league-worst record matched the franchise worst, which came just four years earlier. Since the Knicks last made the playoffs, they have been below .500 six straight seasons — including five straight seasons of at least 50 losses.
They dealt away the franchise centerpiece in January, sending Kristaps Porzingis to Dallas in a deal that helped at least open up the cap space for two max-contract stars. But in surrendering Porzingis, they gave away their best player and put the pressure on to actually land stars. It has been talked about throughout the league that Kevin Durant is likely to jump from Golden State and head to New York, and Madison Square Garden executive chairman James Dolan spoke earlier this year in a radio interview of comments he has heard from stars and their representatives that they want to come to New York.
But Fizdale was asked if those high expectations would make anything less than that a failure.
“I don’t think that’s necessarily the case that if all things don’t fall into place,” he said. “The one reason I wanted to go to the New York Knicks is because it’s the New York Knicks. I liked that expectation. I wanted to be somewhere where people wanted to win and expected to win. And that really drew me to the whole situation, especially after sitting with Steve and Scott and the plan that they laid out. So right away that’s the thing that I embraced.
“I think that we want the type of people that embrace those situations. So I think going into free agency, like I said, we’ve got a lot of good things that we can show and how this is going to be a different deal going forward with the Knicks. I think we’re going to end up doing some good things.”