"You got a big task in front of you -- you and your flat-earth friend, Kyrie Irving -- don't worry about the New York Knicks right now."
KD set social media on fire last week when discussing his decision to sign with Brooklyn instead of the Knickerbockers ... saying "The cool thing right now is not the Knicks.”
Durant basically said the Knicks haven't been good in decades and young people see the organization as more of a joke (since that's all they know) than a legendary franchise.
Enter Rapaport -- who'll stop at nothing to defend his beloved hoops team. He tells TMZ Sports KD is DEAD WRONG about the Knicks ... even if they've had their recent struggles.
"The Knicks are always gonna be cool," Rapaport told us Monday. "Don't worry about us. We know our deficiencies."
Rapaport has some advice for Durant, who's recovering from a torn Achilles he suffered during the NBA Finals ... saying the Knicks should be the last thing on his mind.
"You should just be chilling in a hyperbolic chamber getting your blood spun so we can see you back on the court."
Rapaport ain't holding a grudge against the superstar baller, though ... telling us he hopes to see Durant 100% in no time.
"We wanna see KD healthy, we wanna see him back on the court."
Kevin Durant is twisting the knife on the New York Knicks ... saying it's no longer "cool" to play for New York ... just months after rejecting them for the Brooklyn Nets.
KD spoke about his free agency decision on HOT 97 in NYC Tuesday morning ... saying he was ready to move on from dominating with Golden State to take on a different challenge with a younger team.
“Basketball is the most important thing for me," Durant said. "Kyrie [Irving], DeAndre Jordan, the young players they got was key."
"Playin' with Golden State, playing with a older group I thought it was time for me to impose my will on a younger team.”
This is the part where Knicks fans might wanna look away, 'cause it's about to get ugly.
KD was asked why he went with BK over the NYK ... and he didn't mince his words.
“It's hard to get the best players to play [for the Knicks]. It's hard," KD says.
"I think a lot of fans look at the Knicks as a brand and expect these younger players who, in their lifetime, don’t remember the Knicks being good."
"I saw the Knicks in the Finals, but the kids coming up after me didn’t see that. So, that whole brand of the Knicks, to them, is not as cool to them as, say, a Golden State Warriors or even the Lakers or the Nets now. The cool thing right now is not the Knicks.”
KD says he did, in fact, consider playing for New York ... but it was a very brief "thought" and he didn't explore it that much ... which hurts, given the rumors that he was destined to be a Knick.
"I thought about it, yeah -- just a thought. But, I didn’t do any deep full analysis on the Knicks. I heard it every day -- media in the Bay Area were talkin' about it every day. Tough to dodge, but can’t control it.”
Naturally, Durant is GETTING IT from NY fans on Twitter over the comment ... but he's sticking by his words.
It's okay, Knicks fans ... at least you have R.J. Barrett!!!
Would you give up your FAVORITE food in the world to lose 15 pounds?!?
NY Knicks rising star Dennis Smith Jr. did ... revealing the key to his Summer weight loss was cutting out the fried deliciousness from his favorite fast food spot on the planet, Bojangles!!!
For those who aren't familiar with the chicken 'n’ biscuit chain, it's HUGE in southeastern states like North Carolina (where Smith Jr. is from). Cam Newton's raved about it too!!!
So, when the 21-year-old showed up to training camp looking slimmer and trimmer than usual ... the media pressed him to reveal his weight-loss secret.
"Yeah, I had to change some of the things I ate," Smith Jr. said, "I’m a country boy, man. We eat DIFFERENT down there."
"I ain’t eat Bojangles for most of the summer ... it helped!"
Of course, Smith says he also ate a bunch of green stuff like kale and spinach ... but it SUCKS compared to Bojangles.
Smith says he feels lighter and stronger and thinks the weight loss will help him better endure the long NBA season. He's probably right.
Also worth noting ... there are NO Bojangles franchises in New York -- so he's out of the danger zone during home games.
But, NY plays on the road in Charlotte, D.C. and Atlanta ... where there are a TON!!!
God speed ...
The basketball net from one of the most legendary sporting events ever -- Willis Reed's miraculous comeback in Game 7 of the 1970 NBA Finals -- is up for auction!!!
The backstory ... Red Holzman's NY Knicks -- who had a great 60-22 season -- were favored to beat the L.A. Lakers in the Finals. However, the Knicks championship aspirations appeared to sustain a death blow when superstar Willis Reed tore his thigh muscle in Game 5.
Knotted up at 3 games each, no one expected Reed to play in the decisive 7th game. Somehow, he did ... limping onto the Madison Square Garden hardwood to a roaring ovation.
Reed scored the game's first 2 baskets ... and played lockdown defense on Wilt Chamberlain.
The Knicks won the game 113-99 ... and were NBA champions for the first time.
After the game, the net from one of the hoops was presented to Holzman ... and the Hall of Fame coach kept them until his death in 1998.
After he passed away, Red's family held the net until now ... when they put the historic piece of memorabilia up for auction at SCP Auctions.
Now, it can be yours, hoop fans ... bidding ends Saturday afternoon.
The Knicks legend was infamously dragged out of MSG and arrested for getting physical with security after an altercation with Dolan at a game in Feb. 2017.
"It's been 2 years plus. The league hasn't done nothing to him about it," Oakley says. "Take a stand. They take a stand for everything else. [Colin] Kaepernick took a stand in the NFL. I'll probably take a stand in the NBA."
Even after all this time, Oak says he can't figure out exactly WHY Dolan doesn't like him ... "They just don't like me. For what reason, I don't know."
Oakley says he wants Adam Silver to get involved and make things right ... because "the problem hasn't been solved yet."
"It's a heartbreaking thing that happened."
Melo's status in the league has been one of the biggest topics this off-season ... and the superstar has been very public about wanting to play.
Even ex-NBAer Royce White called out LeBron for not helping out his guy ... especially after the Lakers brought Howard back after a less than stellar first stint a few years back.
😳😳😳 "LeBron is walking around here like he's the face and voice of the players. How is he letting his Banana Boat brother hang out there in the wings and they go sign Jared Dudley and not Carmelo." - @Highway_30— Fanatics View (@fanaticsview) August 20, 2019 @fanaticsview
Full explosive interview:https://t.co/vm5OZzOXMi pic.twitter.com/XrrobSUgPB
We spoke with the Knicks legend about teams passing on the 10-time All-Star ... and Oak says Anthony's problem is that he left New York to begin with.
"Carmelo should've never left New York," Oak tells us ... "I think if he'd have stayed in New York, he probably would've gotten a new contract and maybe the Knicks would've made the playoffs the last couple years."
"I wish him all the love, but Melo's gotta realize that he had a great career. Don't sweat the people. You played the game at a high level, and leave on that level. Don't just want to be on a team because you want to be on a team."
You've heard the stories ... the billionaire has a reputation of not getting along with fans, Knicks legends or media reporters.
But, Knox -- the 9th overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft -- says that's not the Dolan he knows ... heaping praise on the guy for being a cool dude.
"He's good, man. I like him," Knox told us at LAX. "He talks to us a lot of times before the games."
"He's a great person. I play Fortnite with his sons all the time. He's a good dude."
No word on if Knox wins ... but if he plays on the sticks like he does on the court, those kids are gettin' smoked.
We also talked to Knox about RJ Barrett ... and it's definitely gonna get Knickerbocker fans excited.
No, you're not looking at Ivan Drago ... you're looking at a totally shredded Kristaps Porzingis, who's clearly taking no days off during his time off the court -- 'cause the dude is JACKED.
The 24-year-old Dallas Mavericks star posted the gym pic to IG on Wednesday ... jokingly saying it's the angle that is making him look extra buff.
Of course, 7'3" KP tore his ACL as a member of the New York Knicks back in February 2018, and hasn't been on the court since ... but it looks like the dude has been living in the gym during recovery.
Just look at the difference between his rookie year in 2015 and the pic from today. Dude is yolked.
Mavs fans gotta be itchin' to see the center finally suit up in Dallas ... and Mark Cuban's gotta be happy to see his star staying busy.
New York Knicks owner James Dolan is getting a lot of hate from fans ... but it's ALL LOVE when it comes to his players -- just ask Allonzo Trier!!
TMZ Sports spoke with the 23-year-old hooper about the state of the Knicks -- from their playoff chances (they won just 17 games last year) to RJ Barrett to their rivalry with the crosstown Nets ... but the most interesting answer came when we asked about the team's controversial owner.
"I like James Dolan," Trier says.
It's interesting to hear what the players think -- considering we know what most fans and some former players (see Charles Oakley) think of the guy ... and we DEFINITELY know what he thinks of hecklers.
But, it all seems to be okay with the dudes in the locker room ... at least, according to Trier -- who, BTW, has a sick Bentley.
Seriously, even if you DGAF about the Knicks ... watch the clip for the whip.
Check out the video -- while Ballmer was ranting and raving and screaming about his excitement for the Clippers, Dolan ... well, let's just say he wasn't as outwardly enthusiastic about his team.
The Knicks whiffed on some huge free agents including Kevin Durant ... and people are way less stoked about NY's chances to to make a playoff run.
... which might explain why Dolan was more interested in zooming off in his Porsche on Wednesday, than talking about his team.
It's been a tough year for the relationship between Dolan and Knicks fans ... remember, back in March, he banned a fan from Madison Square Garden for life after the fan told James to sell the team.
He's also clashed with Charles Oakley in the past.
The 2019-20 NBA season kicks off in October and fans will know soon enough if Dolan has a reason to get hyped ... or not.
The NY Knicks did NOT take an L in free agency ... so says new signee Bobby Portis, who tells TMZ Sports his new squad now has enough firepower to compete with the Nets!!!
But, Portis -- who just inked a 2-year, $31 MILLION deal with the Knicks -- fired back at his team's haters, telling us NY's free agency haul is more than enough to make a good squad!!
"I know everybody is going to have something to say about every situation, but I feel like we got a good core and we're going to shock a lot of people."
FYI, after missing out on Durant, Kyrie and all the other big fish in the free agency ... the Knicks ended up with a haul of Portis, Julius Randle and Taj Gibson -- along with a few others.
So, is that team (plus top draft pick RJ Barrett) good enough to take down the crosstown rival Nets -- who DID end up with K.D. and Kyrie??
"Oh, yeah," Portis says ... "For sure. For sure."
The Knicks' season officially tips off sometime in October ... #CantWait!
Rap mogul Irv Gotti is a hardcore New York Knicks fan -- and he didn't hold back when we asked how he felt about the Knicks striking out in free agency ...
"Man, F*ck Dolan!"
Yeah, he ain't happy.
Gotti -- along with a bunch of other Knicks fans -- are furious with owner James Dolan for not signing any of the marquee free agents up for grabs over the past few days.
"Yay for the Nets," Gotti told TMZ Sports sarcastically the other day ... "I feel like Stephen A. Smith. I'm disgusted."
Dolan has been having a rough 2019 -- back in March, he took a lot of heat after he was caught on video ejecting a Knicks fan from Madison Square Garden after the fan heckled Dolan to sell the team.
The Knicks took R.J. Barrett in the 1st round of the NBA Draft -- and a lot of people are hopeful he can turn the franchise around ... but Gotti doesn't seem convinced yet.
Wanna see how happy R.J. Barrett is making New York already??
Just look at how Knicks guard Damyean Dotson's face lights up when we mention the rookie's name ... 'cause the dude can't contain his excitement.
"I love R.J., man. I love his game. I'm looking forward to playing with him. He's a smart guy. Athletic, strong ... he can definitely help us."
There hasn't been much excitement around the Knicks in recent years -- they haven't made the playoffs since the Melo era and the biggest news lately has been more about the team owner, James Dolan, kicking people out of MSG for heckling.
But, Dotson's excitement should have Knickerbocker fans stoked for their new rookie ... and whatever free agents they land this summer (if any).
"I think he'll be really good ... he has a chance to be really good in this league."
Dotson has played for the Knicks since 2017 -- when he was selected in the 2nd round of the 2017 NBA Draft. Last year was a pretty big season for DD, who played in 73 games and averaged 10 PPG.
Is Dave East the solution for the New York Knicks' struggles?? The team might wanna give him a call ... 'cause the rapper says he's considering an NBA tryout ... but only for his hometown squad!!
Now, before you brush it off as farfetched, the 6'5" East is a serious hooper -- he played AAU hoops with Kevin Durant and Michael Beasley and landed a Division 1 scholarship to play at University of Richmond, but was ineligible due to grades.
So, when we asked East if he'd ever pull a Master P and give the hoop dream one more shot at age 31, he seemed open to the idea, telling TMZ Sports -- "I might ... It gotta be the Knicks, I gotta be in New York."
Why the Knicks?? East -- who grew up in East Harlem -- is a HUGE fan of his hometown team ... and can be spotted sitting courtside at a lot of their games.
As for KD ... East has been in touch with his old teammate following his devastating Achilles injury in the NBA Finals and says he's doing well and recovering ... and wants Durant to sign with the Knicks this offseason.
So, hey, maybe they can be teammates again??
Earlier this week, there were rumblings Z-Dub could go back to Durham after the Pelicans won the NBA Draft lottery because he was hoping to go to the Knicks.
But, Barnes says all that talk is a bunch of hogwash ... 'cause the future #1 overall pick is expected to land a contract up to $45 million.
... Oh yeah, he's also probably gonna get a $100 MILLION shoe deal ... Soooo, maybe New Orleans won't be so bad!!!
"Money is different these days. I think he'd be passing up on 100-plus million to go back and possibly get hurt again in college, I don't think it's gonna happen," Barnes said.
"The world lost their mind when his shoe blew out and they didn't think he should play anymore. So, I think the fact that there's this much money on the table, I don't see him passing it up."
"I'm so happy that the Knicks didn't get their first pick," Shaq said in New York early Wednesday morning.
"I'm here [in NYC] the next day, Knick fans are so pissed and I'm loving it!"
Of course, the Knicks were in the running to get the #1 overall pick in the NBA Draft Lottery on Tuesday -- but the ping pong balls didn't bounce their way ... and they wound up with the #3 pick.
The New Orleans Pelicans ended up with the #1 pick -- and most people believe they'll select Zion when the Draft kicks off on June 20.
But, Shaq says it's not a lock ... suggesting the Pelicans could even trade the first pick. He loves the drama!!!
As for the Knicks, Shaq says he thinks NYC will make a strong move for Zion's former Duke teammate, RJ Barrett ... but he also says teams should keep their eye on another possible superstar.
"The guy everyone should be looking at is Bol Bol," Shaq said ... "Bol Bol can play. He's the real deal."