Prior to teaming up with LeBron James and winning a title in Cleveland, Richard Jefferson was best known for being one of the top players on a good then-New Jersey Nets team earlier in his career.
Jefferson starred for the Nets from 2001-08. It’s a span that saw the team earn two consecutive NBA Finals appearances while making the playoffs six times. In the meantime, the New York Knicks made the postseason just once during this time.
In talking about the allure of New York for impending free agents, Jefferson didn’t hold back in his criticism of the Knicks.
“The Knicks, the Garden they have their own allure. But if you’re focused on basketball and focused on winning, the Knicks aren’t the best place for you because they haven’t won in 40 years. So don’t tell me that you’re only focused on winning and then go the Knicks,” Jefferson said, via Brian Lewis of the NY Post.
Jefferson was specifically talking about the possibility of two-time reigning NBA Finals MVP Kevin Durant signing with the Knicks. He’s also not wrong.
New York has lost 50-plus games each of the past five seasons. Madison Square Garden might be the Mecca of the NBA world, but it’s not the end all be all.
“But it’s the Garden!” Yeah, he can play in the Garden twice a year,” Jefferson continued. “We used to go play in the Garden and destroy the Knicks and laugh at them, and go party in the city all night. That’s what we used to do. That was our favorite thing.”
Way to kick a team while its down. But in reality, the Knicks deserve this criticism. James Dolan remains the single worst owner in the NBA. The team has not been relevant on a league-wide scale for years.
As it relates to Jefferson’s old Nets team, they are coming off a surprising playoff appearance and could be big time players in free agency. Heck, one specific star player could land in Brooklyn via a trade.
We’re highly intrigued to see this cross-city rivalry play out during the summer. It’s going to be fun.