The New York Knicks were linked to Kevin Durant for most of 2018-19. Despite his injury, this reportedly remains unchanged.
Kevin Durant‘s Achilles injury changed the landscape of the NBA offseason, when teams like the New York Knicks and Los Angeles Clippers wanted to make a run at him. Especially if a ruptured Achilles, whichever team signs the two-time NBA Finals MVP will not have him around for most, if not all, of the 2019-20 season.
Durant is a legendary talent, though, and the rare one to potentially hit free agency, so teams remain interested in signing him, according to David Aldridge of The Athletic. One of them is the Knicks.
"League sources Tuesday made it plain: Durant’s injury, whether short-term or longer, has done little to cool the ardor of his most dogged free agent pursuers. The likelihood remains that all of the New York/L.A. teams will stay in the hunt for Durant beginning on the afternoon of June 30."
SNY’s Ian Begley added a separate report, saying some members of the Knicks would still offer Durant a contract this summer.
On that surface, apparently, nothing has changed, Durant may be hobbled for the next 15 months, but his all-world talent triumphs all, even if he does not return at 90 percent of how he has played since debuting in 2007.
Taking Durant could also punt the 2019-20 season for New York. They will still have money to spend otherwise if he accepts a max salary, but even if the rest of that cash applies towards another max salary, with the way the Knicks roster is constructed, competing will have roadblocks.
If the Knicks avoid Durant, fail to attract any other top free agents like Kemba Walker or Kyrie Irving and back off Anthony Davis, this team is on to “Developmental” Part Two. Players like Kevin Knox and Mitchell Robinson remain a focus, while RJ Barrett becomes the No. 3 pick and a centerpiece of the 2019-20 team.
The ride may be difficult. Plus, the Knicks have a wide-open roster to surround these players, potentially with more short-term talents, before returning to the 2020 offseason with more cap space, although in a weaker free-agent class that is not headlined by Durant, Irving, Walker or Kawhi Leonard.
The ripple effects of Durant’s injury, if the New York Knicks were his main suitor, may stretch for years. From the chance to sign one of the NBA’s greatest players and have someone follow him to a potential repeat of 2018-19, except with a few different faces. Anything can change within a few hours, and it might be time for Plan B.