Free agency doesn’t start until July. Yet, ask Kevin Durant’s teammates if they believe he’s heading to the New York Knicks this offseason.
Through all of the losing and rampant free agency rumors regarding Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, the New York Knicks have remained confident and consistent in their message to the fanbase. “Stay calm and patient, we got this.”
Now while that is certainly easier said than done, the smoke surrounding the Knicks and Durant continues to grow. Via Ian Begley of ESPN, Durant’s teammates even believe that the 10-time All-Star is out the door and headed to Madison Square Garden.
“Some of Durant’s former teammates think it’s going to happen, per ESPN sources,” Begley wrote. “Several of his current teammates have told friends that they think it’s going to happen, sources said. Opposing agents believe it’s a fait accompli: “Just a matter of putting pen to paper,” is how one agent of another top free agent in the 2019 free agent class put it.”
The Knicks, should they pull off the heist of the century in signing both Durant and Irving, will be in a major position of power, with several chess pieces to play. Begley’s article goes on to mention the first pick in the 2019 NBA Draft and the salary cap.
The orange and blue will receive plenty of temptation to put together a trade package for New Orleans Pelicans star Anthony Davis, most likely centered around Zion Williamson, Kevin Knox, and others. Begley also states that, after two max contracts, the Knicks will only have the room exception and veteran’s minimum to offer other players to fill out the roster.
But, despite the immediate opportunity to create the most feared big three in the league, the Knicks should take a lesson from the Boston Celtics. Better to add pieces in free agency to an established core, rather than to give away prospects like Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum before they’ve reached their potential.
Reports had previously surfaced that the Celtics were involved in both the Paul George and Jimmy Butler sweepstakes but eventually decided to back out. However, the flip side of that argument is that Irving may leave the Celtics this summer. Could they have done more to add another star to the roster?
In the end, the Durant drama will have more twists and turns coming out in the future. As a Knicks fan, you have to love the speculation and tea leaves that may lead Durant to the world’s most famous arena. But even if the two-time Finals MVP doesn’t choose the Knicks, the foundation is set to build the team into a contender.
Whether we’re patient enough to withstand that process, is another question entirely.