When the Dallas Mavericks traded him to the New York Knicks, most people expected DeAndre Jordan to be bought out after the February NBA trade deadline. It’s easy to understand why people think that way. An aging veteran like Jordan is undeniably an odd fit with the Knicks, who are in the middle of a rebuilding process and currently tanking to have a strong chance of acquiring a lottery pick in the 2019 NBA Draft.
However, days before the March playoff eligibility waiver deadline, DeAndre Jordan remains in New York, and the Knicks haven’t shown any indication that they will be parting ways with the All-Star center anytime soon. Despite his age, the Knicks are open to the possibility of making Jordan part of their long-term future. On Twitter, Brandon “Scoop B” Robinson of Heavy shared a message from an NBA source, saying that the Knicks are planning to re-sign Jordan using the mid-level exception if they succeed to acquire Golden State Warriors superstar Kevin Durant in the 2019 NBA free agency.
“Nope. I assume the Knicks have a handshake deal to keep him on the MLE if KD comes to town,” the source told Scoop B regarding DeAndre Jordan’s future in New York.
The Knicks believe that keeping DeAndre Jordan for the remainder of the 2018-19 NBA season could give them a higher chance of acquiring his close pal Kevin Durant next July. Durant is currently focused on helping the Warriors win their third consecutive NBA championship title but when the season is over, he is expected to exercise his player option to become an unrestricted free agent next summer.
Lakers reportedly 'eyeing' Knicks center DeAndre Jordan https://t.co/uN4rkUS9T5
— LeBron Wire (@LeBron_Wire) February 22, 2019
After dumping the lucrative deals of Tim Hardaway Jr. and Courtney Lee to the Mavericks, the Knicks are expected to create enough salary cap space to sign two max free agents in the 2019 NBA offseason. If they acquire Kevin Durant and re-sign DeAndre Jordan using the mid-level exception, the Knicks could still chase the likes of Kyrie Irving, Klay Thompson, Kemba Walker, Jimmy Butler, and Kawhi Leonard in free agency.
Successfully forming their own “Big Three” will turn the Knicks from a rebuilding team to a legitimate title contender in the Eastern Conference. It’s worth noting that aside from having the salary cap flexibility, the Knicks also have a plethora of trade assets to engage in another blockbuster deal next summer.
Before agreeing in a trade deal with the Mavericks, the Knicks offered a trade package centered on Kristaps Porzingis to the New Orleans Pelicans for Anthony Davis. If they land the No. 1 pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, the Knicks could use it as the main trade chip when they resume trade negotiations with the Pelicans.