The New York Knicks have spent the better part of two seasons preparing to lure Kevin Durant from the Golden State Warriors uniform.
When Kevin Durant was selected second overall by the Seattle SuperSonics/Oklahoma City Thunder in the 2007 NBA draft, Scott Perry was the assistant general manager. In July 2017, with their eyes set on rebuilding the team from the front office to the court to appeal to Durant, the New York Knicks made a trade with the Sacramento Kings to make Scott Perry the new general manager, who just three months earlier was hired by the Kings.
As compensation, New York sent a future second-round pick and cash considerations.
Perry is well-regarded around the league with executives and players—former NBA superstar and now ESPN analyst Chauncey Billups, who was with the Pistons when Perry was a front office executive in Detroit, said he loves “Scott Perry in the front office.” Perry has fans all over the league, including Durant, with whom he still has a relationship with. The Knicks are hoping that could be enough come June 30th, at the start of free agency.
That isn’t the only move New York has made to please Durant. Royal Ivey, a Knicks assistant coach, also a University of Texas alum, played with Kevin Durant in Oklahoma City and is one of his closest friends. How close? Durant is the godfather to Ivey’s daughter. But is that enough to get Durant to New York?
The Knicks even signed Allonzo Trier last season as an undrafted rookie after his stock dropped due to issues he had while playing at the University of Arizona. He wowed the Knicks front office and the rest of the league in his rookie campaign, earning himself a contract.
They have a connection to each other, as well, as Trier played high school basketball in Oklahoma City at the same time Durant played for the Thunder, and a relationship formed between the two, with Durant becoming a mentor.
Rich Kleiman, an avid New York Knicks fan and Durant’s business partner/manager, may want Durant to wear No. 35 in the blue and orange as a fan–but this is business and Kleiman’s priority is his loyalty to Durant and his best interest for his career on the court as well as his business ventures off of it. Whether Durant is a Knick or not wouldn’t matter to the music executive turned sports agent.
It’s clear that any decision about Durant’s playing future, while getting advice from those close to him, will fall completely on the shoulders of the injured NBA superstar. The Knicks have spent time and resources building an organization that will cater to the wants and needs of Kevin Durant, led by the assistant general manager who helped draft him in 2007 and one of his best friends on the coaching staff, the past couple of seasons have Durant written all over them.
From top to bottom the New York Knicks have made it clear that Madison Square Garden already belongs to Durant, if he ever shall choose to call it home.