Enes Kanter started the recruitment of Kevin Durant to the New York Knicks. Is it possible for 2019?
The 2019 offseason has the potential to produce game-changing results for the New York Knicks. With enough cap space to sign a max player, as the Knicks have just $70.2 million committed to their 2019-20 payroll, it can lead to a new era of basketball at Madison Square Garden.
Kevin Durant, though, arguably headlines this class. While he’s a stalwart with the Golden State Warriors, there’s no guarantee he stays past 2018-19, due to a $31 million player option for 2019-20.
Could Durant become a Knick in 2019? New York will have the space, and Enes Kanter is aware of this. His appearance on Sirius XM Radio (via the New York Post), saying he will “try to recruit [Durant]” signals the process has begun:
"“I’ve been hard on him the last two years,” Kanter said on Sirius XM Radio. “As soon as I learned he’s becoming a free agent, he’s my best friend. I can’t say enough of the guy. He’s the best scorer to ever play the game. Who wouldn’t want KD to wear a New York uniform?“We are New York. He’s a free agent. We need to use that. We are the best city in the world. That could draw a lot of attention for free agents. I would love for him to be my teammate again. When he was my teammate [in OKC], he was an amazing teammate, amazing character, scorer and basketball player on court and off the court, too. I would love to see him be my teammate again.”"
Durant and Kanter were teammates in Oklahoma City from 2015-16, before the former left for the Warriors in July 2016. They nearly made the NBA Finals together, but a series collapse against Golden State cost this and their franchise player. Will this old connection help?
Kanter tried “recruiting” LeBron James this summer, before he signed with the Los Angeles Lakers for four years, and left the Eastern Conference for the first time in his career. So, this might only be a playful act from the seven-year veteran.
If the Knicks do not sign Durant, there’s a loaded class of talent to target in 2019. Kawhi Leonard, Klay Thompson, Jimmy Butler and Kyrie Irving are among the group of big names set to hit free agency. All might not depart their current teams, but if the past decade of the open market means anything, expect everything.
New York has the ability to change the look of its franchise in under 10 months. It’s no guarantee, however, that players will sign, given previous instances with the Lakers and their open cap space, which resulted in no big names and money handed to Luol Deng and Timofey Mozgov.
Some of this potentially depends on Kristaps Porzingis’ health and the development of young talent. If the team shows promise, it may help them succeed to acquire Durant or another marquee name.