Then they spent the final two-thirds of the season doing everything they legally could to improve their draft slot and enhance their options for surrounding Durant with young talent.
This, they said, would be a new era of Knicks basketball, and Tuesday night's draft lottery would mark the beginning.
At 8:50 p.m. ET, with three teams waiting to be called, NBA deputy commissioner Mark Tatum drew a card featuring the Knicks logo from an envelope, signaling New York, the team with the worst record in the league last season, would receive the third pick in the 2019 draft.
Most experts have Murray State point guard Ja Morant pegged as the second-best player in the draft and Duke wing RJ Barrett at No. 3.
With him already in New Orleans, executive vice president of basketball operations David Griffin can dictate when the Davis deal gets made and force teams to bid against one another.