Unlike in the past years, the New York Knicks have been surprisingly quiet in the free agency and trade market this offseason. Knicks President Steve Mills revealed that they are currently focusing on developing the talents they have on their roster, especially the young players. The move makes a lot of sense since the face of the franchise, Kristaps Porzingis, is expected to miss the most of the 2018-19 NBA season due to injury.
However, the Knicks plan to be aggressive in the 2019 NBA free agency. A previous Inquisitr article revealed that the Knicks will keep an eye on Golden State Warriors small forward Kevin Durant and Boston Celtics point guard Kyrie Irving. According to Marc Berman of New York Post, the Knicks could also add Kawhi Leonard on their list of free agent targets in 2019.
After being traded to the Raptors, rumors started to swirl that Kawhi Leonard has no interest in staying and playing in Toronto. As of now, the Los Angeles Lakers emerged as the top landing spot for the All-Star forward in 2019, but Berman believes the Knicks have a “puncher’s chance” at signing Leonard.
“Leonard’s reported disinterest in playing in Toronto means he’ll likely seek a new pasture next July. That’s one more available marquee free agent for the Knicks to battle for against a slew of other clubs that plan on having maximum cap space — if not enough for two. The Knicks could have a puncher’s chance at Leonard, who spent a lot of time with his uncle in northern New Jersey as he went about his curious rehab from a mysterious quadriceps injury last season. Leonard is now very familiar with the area and seems to like it.”
Column: By trading for Kawhi Leonard, Masai Ujiri is sending a loud and clear message: the Raptors aren’t settling for being good. They want to be great. https://t.co/CfuJqZXxL8— Tim Bontemps (@TimBontemps) July 18, 2018
Successfully acquiring Kawhi Leonard will undeniably make the Knicks an exciting team once again, especially if Kristaps Porzingis fully recovered from his injury. To make things more interesting for Knicks’ potential pursuit of the All-Star forward, Bruce Arthur of Toronto Star (h/t Lakers Nation) revealed that Leonard is currently contacting several NBA players about teaming up in 2019 NBA free agency.
Aside from Leonard, numerous NBA superstars are set to become free agents next summer. These include Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, Jimmy Butler, Kemba Walker, Klay Thompson, and DeMarcus Cousins. However, as of now, the Knicks are only projected to have one slot for a max free agent. Still, it’s interesting to see how the Knicks plan to build a team that can legitimately contend for the NBA championship title in 2019.