ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith has never kept his love for the New York Knicks a secret, and he’s never been one to keep his emotions under wraps.
Which is why Smith had a complete meltdown Sunday evening after learning that the Knicks had walked away the biggest losers in the early hours of the NBA free agent frenzy.
He posted a rant on Instagram that summed up the feeling of fans of one of the most inept organizations in all of sports. The caption: “I just finished crying!”
“I need a few minutes to gather my composure,” Smith said in the video. “Somehow, someway, I’m just trying to hold it together, you know?”
New York lost out on not only Durant but also Kyrie Irving and just about every other marquee free agent.
Durant, who had long been rumored to be heading to the Knicks, signed with the crosstown rival Brooklyn Nets, along with Irving and former Knick DeAndre Jordan.
ESPN reported that Durant opted for the Nets because the Knicks weren’t prepared to offer Durant the four-year, $164 million max deal he wanted. The Knicks cited concern over the torn Achilles that Durant suffered in the NBA Finals that could keep him on the sidelines for all of 2019-2020.
“Lifelong Knick fan, years of mediocrity, I thought this was going to be it,” Smith said. “Weeks ago, when I was doing ‘First Take,’ we were in Oakland and I got word about Kyrie Irving in Brooklyn, realizing that meant KD in Brooklyn, realizing that the New York Knicks were going to go without anything.
“Seventy million dollars in cap space … (Kristaps) Porzingis gone. Porzingis can’t be gone — and we don’t get KD, and we don’t get Kyrie. No way! This can’t happen, this can’t happen. But it happened.”
The Knicks traded away their best player, Porzingis, before the trade deadline to clear cap space for free agents who never came — making matters even worse.
“The New York Knicks, with KD on the market, Kyrie on the market, Klay (Thompson), Kemba (Walker), Jimmy Butler — and they can’t get somebody to come to Madison Square Garden?”
And the fact that Brooklyn got it done, and not the Knicks, rubbed salt in the wounds for Smith and Knicks fans.
“In three years, the Brooklyn Nets have accomplished what we’ve been waiting for the New York Knicks to pull off for a half-century,” Smith said. “And more specifically, in 20 years, in the last 20 years, this is what they pulled off. This is what they pulled off!
“I know the Knicks are going to go out and get somebody, maybe like a Julius Randle. But how am I supposed to feel right now?”
The Knicks did indeed sign Julius Randle later Sunday night to a three-year, $63 million deal. They also signed journeymen Bobby Portis, Taj Gibson and Reggie Bullock, Sporting News reported.
“I’m going to try to get together by ‘First Take’ tomorrow,” Smith continued. “But I can’t promise you all what I’m going to do, I cant promise what I’m going to say. I’ll see you all in the morning.”
— Stephen A Smith (@stephenasmith) July 1, 2019
But his disappointment did not abate Monday morning.
“It’s pretty difficult to put into words how disgusted I am, how depressed I am about the New York Knicks,” Smith said on ESPN’s “Get Up.”
“I can’t think of a worse day in New York Knicks history,” he said.
By the time he got to his own show, Smith seemed worn down. “The New York Knicks have lost New York to the Brooklyn Nets,” he said quietly at the start of “First Take.”
But it didn’t take long for him to get into rant mode again.
“This is a devastating day for me personally,” he said, “and I got to admit to you, as bad as the New York Knicks have been and as disgusted as I have been with them, this is the first day … because the stars went to Brooklyn, to me, it’s over.”
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