“Players’ trades are way better than general managers’ trades,” says Arenas. “Players pick the right pieces. We can see it because we watch how people play. The general managers look at paper.”
Speaking of trades, any rumors you read in the days leading up to the start of free agency, please consume them with a grain or salt. Or five.
“Ninety percent of it is real, but bullshit. It’s part of negotiating tactics,” says Agent Zero.
So when your favorite NBA insider tweets out a scoop, the intel often comes from the team or a player’s agent. And always in an effort to better position themselves when it’s time to talk money.
5. The one team no free agent wants to play for. Ask any enlightened Knicks fans who deserves most of the blame for the team’s two-decade malaise and they’ll probably finger kazoo-loving owner James Dolan.
It’s true that the Knicks have largely sucked this millennium for a litany of reasons under Dolan’s stewardship. All the horrible front office additions (like Phil Jackson), the head coaches who were hired to be fired (14 of ‘em since 2001), the poorly constructed rosters (pick a year, any year) and an epically awful track record in the draft (Jordan Hill, Frank Ntilikina, Kevin Knox and on and on and on) are among the main culprits.
But according to Arenas, New York basketball fans actually deserve the blame.Yes, the Bing Bong brigade who live and die for the Knicks despite a single playoff series win over the past 22 season need to look in the mirror, because Arenas has heard players so repulsed by the negative vibes from a Madison Square Garden crowd that they swear to never suit up for the Knicks.
“When we’re the road team and we come in and we see how you treat us versus how you treat your own team, oh my God, I would never want to be a Knicks player,” says Arenas. “Fuck that.”
“Think about all the talent and types of teams the Knicks have had and they can’t put it together because Knicks fans are unrealistic,” says Arenas. “You’re not going to put in boos and get out a championship, I can tell you that for sure.” He continues: “They are some unloyal-ass fans. They’re great fans of basketball. They appreciate basketball, not necessarily their team.”
It doesn’t help that MSG showers adulation on a visitor like Steph Curry as he starts to cook, gassing him up so he catches fire like it’s NBA Jam while simultaneously demoralizing the home team. One of the biggest reasons NBA players love balling at the Mecca — along with the building’s history and its dramatic lighting — is it’s easy to flip the New York crowd and crush the spirit of the Knicks.
“That was our game plan. Jump on the Knicks early to turn the crowd,” says Arenas. “Once the crowd turns on them, this game is over. They’ll never bounce back from it.”
You’ll never hear a Golden State crowd boo the Warriors, even when they’re down double digits. It’s nothing but love and positive vibes in San Francisco. Negativity is second nature to New Yorkers and considering there are a million ways to spend your time and money in the Big Apple, fans won’t hesitate to jeer the players on the court. Or off it. Sometimes those poor Knickerbockers can’t escape the toxicity while off-duty since New Yorkers do not give a damn.
“A player goes to the club and Knicks fans are drunk and tell him, ‘You should be in the gym after that performance you had tonight,’” says Arenas. “Now you have a player who can’t even be himself in public. Putting on that New York jersey becomes a bad experience.”