New York Knicks Rumors: Is Kevin Durant a Realistic Option?


Much has been made about the New York Knicks and how they will have a ton of cap space this upcoming year. Phil Jackson has said the Knicks will not simply spend all of their money next summer, which leads people to believe he may have his sites on the 2016 class instead. There are obvious pros and cons to this thinking, so let’s go over those first.


  • The 2016 free agent class is actually stronger than the 2015 class now that Kevin Love is off the board.
  • Kevin Durant will be available in 2016.
  • It will prevent the Knicks from giving max money to an undeserving player.


  • Not signing a big name in 2015 virtually could waste another year of Carmelo Anthony‘s prime.
  • Knick fans have been waiting for 2015 for years now.
  • 2015 has Marc Gasol, who is more likely to leave his current team than Joakim Noah (2016)

So as you can see, Jackson will have some serious options to consider. While the Knicks would probably like to wait for 2016, their roster will be forced into a complete makeover next season whether they like it or not.

The Knicks will have only seven players under contract at the end of the season, and none of them can play power forward or center. At the end of the day, the Knicks will likely be forced to add a significant piece in the summer of 2015 to even be competitive the following season. There is no benefit of being bad in 2015-16 because they dealt that first round pick to Toronto for Andrea Bargnani last summer (nice one Grunwald).

So in order to be able to make a run at Kevin Durant, the Knicks will have to execute a series of miracles.

1. Do not add salary this season by trading away an expiring contract (Amar’e Stoudemire, Andrea Bargnani).

  • This is one of the most important pieces to the puzzle. They have had a long history of trading players in expiring contracts in order to collect aging stars with terrible contracts. Just look at number one on this list.

2. If the Knicks underachieve like they did last year, they will actually own their first round pick.

  • The ESPN 2014 forecast is predicting the Knicks at 37-45. While they were accurate last year, it’s hard to imagine them being that bad this year. However, the Knicks never cease to amaze us at how badly they can underachieve, so let’s go with ESPN for now. This projects the Knicks with a top 10 pick in 2015 where they can address their hole at center. In a big man heavy draft, the Knicks should target Myles Turner (a defensive monster), Shawn Long (2.7 bpg, 10.4 rpg, 40.5% 3P%), or Karl Towns (stretch 7’0″ center).

3. Sign Greg Monroe to a non max contract, approximately $10 million a year.

  • While some people might not agree with this, Monroe is a very good player. While he is not worth a max contract, he is a very good number two or great number three player on a team. He clearly wants out of Detroit and the Knicks will need a power forward. He is a great passer and rebounds the basketball very well. While he is not an exceptional shooter, he has the ability to score from nearly anywhere in the post. Again, some team may throw a ton of money at him, but I believe he can be had at a much cheaper price.

4. Let J.R. Smith walk and resist adding any more salary during the ’15-’16 season.

  • Smith may be an attractive option for teams in his final year of his contract. As long as the Knicks do not add long term salaries, they could possibly acquire a pick or young player for him or simply let him walk.

5. The Salary Cap has to rise at its current exponential rate.

  • This could be difficult for the Knicks. The salary cap took an all time rise of 7.5% for the upcoming season due to record setting revenues. Assuming revenues continue to soar and  the salary cap rises at that rate, the ’16-’17 season cap will be roughy $72 million. The NBA expects the cap to increase at 4.5% per season according to ESPN. If the rate drops back to the NBA’s expectations, then the cap for ’16-’17 would be about $68.86 million. The higher the cap, the better for the Knicks (but also everyone else). The Knicks cap space will look like this in the summer of 2016: Melo- $24,559,380, Calderon- $7,708,427, Larkin- $2,576,642, Hardaway Jr.- $2,281,605, Early- $1,180,431 (qualifying offer), 2015 top ten pick- approx $2.2 million, and Monroe- $10 million. That will put the Knicks at $50,506,485 for the summer of 2016. Technically the Knicks could offer Durant a max contract, but it would be very difficult to add any more pieces around him. That’s why the Knicks need the NBA revenue to keep increasing so the cap will rise fast than anticipated.

6. Kevin Durant actually has to WANT to play for the New York Knicks.

  • People can project Durant going to New York all they want. However, it is his decision and unless the Knicks are significantly better the next two years, he probably will look elsewhere. The Knicks’ main attraction is a massive market (New York), a championship mentor (Phil Jackson), strong ties to the coaches (Derek Fisher and Brian Keefe), and hopefully getting to play alongside a good young nucleus of Tim Hardaway Jr., Shane Larkin, 2015 top pick, and Cleanthony Early. Also, Melo and Monroe would be there to also attract free agents.

Is Kevin Durant a realistic option in 2016? The short answer is yes, but as you can see, it will take a lot of things to go the Knicks’ way in order to make this happen. The other option is that OKC figures that Durant won’t resign and ends up trading him. The Knicks don’t have many trade pieces, so this avenue is not the best fit for New York.

A lot can happen between now and the summer of 2016. The Knicks may decide to just say we’re going all in next year and offer Gasol a max contract. Either way, the Knicks will have a ton of options moving forward. Could Kevin Durant be rocking blue and orange in 2016? Maybe, but it is definitely going to take a miracle.