The New York Knicks have long been viewed as a team to watch in this year’s NBA free agency frenzy. The team, which has had several losing seasons in a row, cleared a great deal of salary cap space for this offseason, and then cleared even more in February when they traded their former star center Kristaps Porzingis to the Dallas Mavericks.
The Knicks’ dream of landing Zion Williamson in the NBA Draft didn’t pan out, although the team ended up with the highly regarded R.J. Barrett in the draft instead. And while the team isn’t favored to sign the top players in free agency this offseason, the Knicks are still planning to meet with two of the major ones.
Per a Twitter report by longtime New York basketball writer Frank Isola, the Knicks are “expecting to have meetings with Kevin Durant and Kawhi Leonard,” the two highest-profile free agents on the market this offseason.
These meetings will take place before the Knicks brass head to Los Angeles for meetings with lower-tier free agents.
It’s not been confirmed that those two players are interested in meeting with the Knicks, but teams and players are not allowed to formally speak to one another until Sunday.
Durant in particular has been linked to the Knicks for several months, as a player who would become the first superstar free agent to jump to New York in many years. Durant, however, suffered a ruptured Achilles tendon in the NBA Finals earlier this month, meaning that if he signs with the Knicks, he will sit out a year before playing again.
Durant made it official earlier Wednesday that he is declining his player option with the Warriors and will enter free agency.
As for Leonard, numerous reports have had him choosing between the Toronto Raptors — his current team — and the Los Angeles Clippers, although some have him meeting with other teams, such as the Los Angeles Lakers, the Brooklyn Nets, and the Knicks.
New York, if they fail to sign any major free agents, will “roll over” their cap space until the next offseason, when there are fewer high-profile players available, per Yahoo Sports.
In another report Wednesday, it was stated that former Knicks star Carmelo Anthony is interested in returning to New York in order to end his career with the Knicks.
Anthony is seen as possibly signing with the Lakers to join LeBron James.