Over 17 seasons in the NBA, Richard Jefferson played in 1,181 career games, good enough for 48th all-time. During that time, he played with eight different teams and won a championship in 2016 with the Cavaliers. He was a 20-point scorer and a starter on Finals teams in New Jersey, and even as his production slowly tailed off, he remained a productive player for the entirety of his career.
Never really the guy who was only on the team for his veteran leadership and locker room presence, Jefferson was still playing 20 minutes a game for the Cavs in his 16th season. The playing time finally dwindled in 2017-18, when he played just eight minutes a night while appearing in 20 games for the Nuggets.
That’s when he decided to retire.
Jefferson is now a color analyst on the Brooklyn Nets‘ broadcast, and on Sunday, as the Nets were playing the Knicks, Jefferson revealed, rather hilariously, that he knew it was time to retire when the Knicks were the only team to offer him a job.
“I refused to play for the Knicks,” Jefferson said. “Like Jason Kidd, Kenyon Martin, they don’t really care. Me? I was the one person that said: ‘Knicks? No, I’ll retire.’ That’s why I retired. They were the one team that offered me a job.”
Man, the Knicks are just an unending source of comedy. Executives calling Impromptu press conferences to throw their coach under the bus for the bad team THEY put together. A total mess of a front office. A walking blow torch for an owner. Offseason plans for Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving turn into Julius Randle and Elfrid Payton.
Six straight losing seasons. Five playoff appearances this century, four of which ended with first-round exits. You’ve got Durant saying the Knicks just aren’t cool, which is about the most polite way of saying “this thing is a dumpster fire” that I’ve ever heard, and now you have guys coming out and saying they’d literally rather quit playing professional basketball than get paid millions of dollars to suit up for the Knicks.
Dude. This is brutal. I mean, it’s not like Jefferson’s post-playing days sound all that rough; it’s not like he chose being a part-time custodian over playing for the Knicks. But still, this was a multi-million-dollar job offer to play basketball and the dude was like, ‘nah, I’m good.’
This is hilarious and sad at the same time, because you better believe players talk with one another. The Knicks keep thinking they are a top-tier franchise that should be in the market for top-tier free agents. They rationed their cap space this summer after they missed on Durant and Irving so they could be a max player in future summers. You know they think they have a shot at Giannis Antetokounmpo in 2021.
Hilarious. They can’t get Richard Jefferson, who has no other options, but suddenly they’re going to land arguably the best player in the world who can play WHEREVER HE WANTS. The Knicks, man. They’re really something.