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Though the New York Knicks are in the midst of another abysmal season, headed toward a bottom-of-the-barrel finish with the worst record in the league, owner James Dolan sees light at the end of the tunnel.
According to him, anyway, that light is not that of an onrushing train.
On an appearance on The Michael Kay Show, Dolan expressed confidence the Knicks — owners of a 13-56 record headed into play Saturday — will do well in recruiting some of the top free agents in the game this summer, a list that will include the likes of Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and Kawhi Leonard.
“Yes, I do think that. I think we offer a pretty good situation for [to acquire free agents],” Dolan said. “One, is a lot of them love New York, a bunch of them live in New York in the offseason. They know the team, they know [coach David Fizdale] really well, they know [president Steve Mills] and [general manager Scott Perry].
“Players want to go to a winner and they want to get paid. We’re definitely going to pay them. We think with them combined and the kids we’ve got today, we can build a winning team.”
“A winning team” is all relative when it comes to the inhabitants of Madison Square Garden. Consider the Knicks’ win totals since their last playoff season, 2012-13, when they won 54 games:
* 2018-19 –– 13
* 2017-18 — 29
* 2016-17 –– 31
* 2015-16 — 32
* 2014-15 — 17
* 2013-14 –– 37
Notice a trend, here?
Despite its NBA-worst record, the Knicks do have some interesting young players in the form of Dennis Smith Jr., Kevin Knox and Mitchell Robinson.
Along those lines, Fizdale, in his first season at the helm, backed Dolan’s comments.
“Well, the beauty of it, the thing that I always — as much as I love you guys — I try to have my baseline on people that are having to make decisions around the league when they look at our team,” Fizdale told Steve Popper of Newsday. “All of the feedback that we’ve gotten is young kids have gotten better, our guys compete their butts off. We set ourselves up big-time for a great future and that’s what I’m listening to when I talk to my friends around the league and the feedback that I’m getting.”
Already linked on the NBA rumor mill to players such as Durant, Irving and Leonard, Fizdale is focusing on the Knicks’ 13 remaining games before the curtain drops on their season.
“Well, since we’ve been here, I’m hoping that’s the case, that the relationships and what we’re building here will attract people,” Fizdale said. “But right now I’m so far away from that, guys, I’m like in a darkroom right now with these guys. I’ve got a lot of things I’m trying to clean up and teach these young guys.
“Free agency for me is like millions of miles away.”