With the New York Knicks in Oakland to play the Golden State Warriors on Tuesday, Knicks legend Clyde Frazier says he “meant no disrespect” to Warriors star Kevin Durant when he said over the summer that Durant deserved an asterisk on a list of all-time great players because of his success with Golden State.
“I also said he’s one of the best in the world, right up there with LeBron [James], and that he’s probably going to be the best in the game,” Frazier said in an interview with the New York Daily News after the Knicks’ road loss to the Portland Trail Blazers on Monday.
Frazier, a Hall of Fame guard and analyst for the Knicks on MSG Network, felt the coverage of his comments was “overblown.”
“I was flabbergasted,” Frazier told the newspaper. “I was like, ‘What?’ So people were calling me. My friends were calling me. And I didn’t know the magnitude. All these different programs were talking about it. I was like, ‘Wow.'”
The Knicks plan to have enough money to sign a top free agent in the summer of 2019. Durant has a player option for the 2019-20 season and is expected to decline it and test free agency this summer. The Knicks — and many other teams in the NBA — will have interest in signing Durant this summer if he tests free agency.
In August, Frazier said that Durant’s success with the Warriors would negatively impact his legacy.
“Durant, I mean, as great a player as he is, I would still hold back because, man, he joined a team that really didn’t need him. You know what I mean?” Frazier said in an interview with Sirius XM NBA Radio. “He’s right there with LeBron, probably will surpass LeBron as the best player in the game soon. But for him doing that, I still don’t give him the full credit that he probably would have deserved if he stayed with [the Oklahoma City Thunder] and won a title with that team.”
Frazier was asked in the August interview whether Durant’s success with Golden State — two NBA titles and two Finals MVP awards — would affect where he’d rank him on a list of all-time great players.
“He’s going to be down the list for me because of that. There will be an asterisk by his name,” he said, chuckling.
In discussing those comments on Monday, Frazier said Durant could significantly add to his resume by winning a title with the Knicks. New York last won a title in 1973 with Frazier leading the group.
“I think that’s what he needs. Especially if the Warriors win this year, I think he’d be looking for a different challenge,” Frazier said in an interview with the Daily News. “I don’t know a better place than New York where he can do it. Where else could he go to get what he’s looking for, to be the best in the game? If he could bring a title to New York, that’s going to catapult him with [Michael] Jordan and LeBron, I would think.”
ESPN’s Ian Begley contributed to this report.