Oakley On Knicks: Players 'Don't Want To Be Around A Bad, Toxic Situation'

By WFAN Sports Radio 101.9 FM/66AM New York

The nightmare offseason has unfolded right before the Knicks' eyes.

On the first day of NBA free agency, superstars Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving both decided to take their talents to New York.

Unfortunately for the Knicks, the All-NBA pair is headed to Brooklyn rather than Madison Square Garden.

Charles Oakley, who was involved in an altercation at Madison Square Garden two years ago where owner James Dolan had the beloved former Knick thrown out of the arena for reportedly yelling at him, joined Kimberly Jones and John Jastremski on WFAN Monday.

While it has been a few years since this unfortunate incident occurred, Oakley told Jones and Jastremski that it played a role in the league's biggest free agents deciding not to join the Knicks this summer.

"I've talked to a lot of guys, and I've talked to a lot of guys representing too, and a lot of them are upset about what happened two years ago," Oakley said referring to his arrest at MSG. "People respect me. A lot of stuff that went on wasn't right, and from the Commissioner on down, nobody has tried to address it. But the players have seen it for themselves. 

"They're not trying to go to an environment where someone says something, and somebody is going to come talk to him with an axe, or someone is going to come and put handcuffs on him. They don't want that kind of environment... I just feel bad for the city of New York, the fans that give their heart and soul and sweat and tears to come to games, and they have to keep going through this."

Playing for the Knicks has long been considered an attractive landing spot for free agents, with the appeal of playing in New York City along with the off-court marketing opportunities.

However according to Oakley, the environment surrounding the team has changed players' views of the franchise.

"For the fans, New York is New York," the 55-year-old former Knick said. "But for the players now, it's just a different ball game. I mean, they don't want to be around a bad, toxic situation."

A lot of talk in the media over the last 24 hours has been around the report that the Knicks, led by Dolan, were not willing to offer Durant a max contract due to his recent torn Achilles. 

Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant sits on the court after an apparent injury in Game 5 of the NBA Finals against the Raptors on June 10, 2019, in Toronto.Kyle Terada/USA TODAY Images

While signing the superstar to a massive deal following this major injury certainly comes with some risks, the longtime NBA veteran believes New York absolutely should have offered Durant a max contract.

"You'll probably never get the chance to sign a guy like that in the next 10 years," Oakley said. "Why not take a chance? It's going to take you a year or two to win anyways..."

There has been a lot said about the now infamous events that occured at Madison Square Garden on February 8, 2017.

Over the last two years, Knicks fans have clamored for the franchise to mend things with the big man that spent a decade with the team.

Oakley indicated on-air that he reached out to the Knicks in an attempt to fix the relationship between him and the franchise, but was turned away by the team.

"You're dealing with a different type of owner," said the former fan favorite. "I don't know what his mindset is, but whatever it is, it's not a good mindset because it all happened because of him. The Commissioner has never gone anything about it. We're in court right now so I can't really elaborate. We tried to reach out to him, but you know him..."

To listen to Kimberly and John's full interview with Charles Oakley, click on the audio player above.