Knicks rumors link New York to Kevin Durant again. Durant is an NBA free agent soon, and the New York Knicks would love to lure the All-Star forward to the Eastern Conference. While it will likely be difficult for any team to pry Kevin Durant away from the Oklahoma City Thunder, a report from ESPN.com states that he might want to play with Carmelo Anthony and Kristaps Porzingis. Could this lead to Durant signing with the Knicks during the 2016 NBA offseason?
Durant has a strong relationship with Anthony, has played with Knicks coach Derek Fisher before, and recently praised Porzingis after the Knicks selected the rookie in the 2015 NBA Draft. Other factors that could come into play during the NBA offseason include the lack of a title with the Oklahoma City Thunder, perceived friction with current teammate Russell Westbrook, and the bright lights of going to a major sports market. Even in a best-case scenario, though, the Knicks could have a difficult time finding the money to offer Durant a max deal.
A number of prior New York Knicks rumors had president Phil Jackson maneuvering this past offseason in order to have a lot of money to spend following the 2015-16 NBA season. Top free agents could include Kevin Durant, LeBron James (player option), Andre Drummond (restricted), Dwight Howard (player option), DeMar DeRozan (player option), Bradley Beal (restricted), Al Horford, Pau Gasol (player option), and Dwyane Wade. This could create a market flush with talent depending on how players decide to approach the upcoming offseason.
There are other interesting unrestricted free agents that include center Hassan Whiteside, point guard Mike Conley, point guard Rajon Rondo, center Al Jefferson, center Joakim Noah, and point guard Brandon Jennings. That’s six players who could be looking for a new team very soon, with all these names expected to also be involved in NBA trade rumors as the deadline approaches. The Knicks will have money to spend during the offseason, but could also look to make moves in order to chase the 2016 NBA Playoffs as well.
At the center of these New York Knicks rumors is Kevin Durant, who would have to decide to leave the Oklahoma City Thunder in order for other teams to pursue him in free agency. The Thunder can offer the most money, which includes a five-year contract starting at $25 million and increasing by 7.5 percent per season. Another franchise can only offer a four-year deal, with a 4.5 percent escalator per season. One possible route for Durant is to take two-year deals with a player option for year two. This is something LeBron James has done with the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Regarding his pending free agency, Durant has made some comments to the press.
“I can’t totally just say I haven’t thought about (free agency) at all. But I haven’t sat down and really put a lot of time into what I’m looking for. Just focusing on my teammates, focusing on the season and how I can be better as a player, as a leader. Everything else comes after that and it comes after the season.”
In the updated NBA standings, Oklahoma City is currently third in the Western Conference with a 35-13 record. That is likely how the team will enter the playoffs, and how the team performs could reveal what Kevin Durant decides to do next. Failing to make it to the West or NBA Finals could increase the number of New York Knicks rumors and Durant’s willingness to leave OKC. This creates a situation where Knicks fans may want to start rooting for a team to knock off the Thunder early in the postseason.
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