Knicks' Steve Mills Releases Statement After Failing to Sign Big-Name Free Agent

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistJuly 1, 2019

James Dolan, executive chairman of  Madison Square Garden, sits at a news conference next to the team logo where he introduced Phil Jackson as the new president of the New York Knicks, Tuesday, March 18, 2014 in New York. Jackson, who won two NBA titles as a player for the New York Knicks, also won 11 championships while coaching the Chicago Bulls and the Los Angeles Lakers. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)
Mark Lennihan/Associated Press

A disappointing start to free agency for the New York Knicks forced the front office to issue a statement to fans to assure them they have a plan in place.

Per Marc Stein of the New York Times, team president Steve Mills had this to say about where things stand with the organization: "While we understand that some Knicks fans could be disappointed with tonight's news, we continue to be upbeat and confident in our plans to rebuild the Knicks to compete for championships in the future, through both the draft and targeted free agents."

Mills' statement came after New York's most notable agreement Sunday was a three-year, $63 million pact with Julius Randle, per ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.

The Knicks also agreed to a two-year, $20 million deal with Taj Gibson, per Wojnarowski.

ESPN's Ramona Shelburne added owner James Dolan and the Knicks "were not prepared" to give Kevin Durant a max contract because of concerns about his recovery from Achilles surgery.

New York's decision to waffle on Durant may have allowed the Brooklyn Nets to reach agreements with Durant, Kyrie Irving and DeAndre Jordan when free agency started.

The Knicks put themselves in position to have a marquee summer by creating two max slots in January when they traded Kristaps Porzingis, Tim Hardaway Jr., Courtney Lee and Trey Burke to the Dallas Mavericks.

Randle isn't a bad player and is coming off a season in which he averaged 21.4 points per game with the New Orleans Pelicans.

The problem is when a fanbase has been teased with the possibility of a Durant-Irving pairing, it's hard to sell it on Randle and a 34-year-old power forward like Gibson.

The Knicks do have No. 3 pick RJ Barrett, but that's putting a lot of pressure on a 19-year-old who has yet to play an NBA game.