Kevin Durant
Ben Margot/AP Photo

The New York Knicks, reportedly, pump-faked on Kevin Durant. The end result, he is on his way to becoming a Brooklyn Net.

Geoffrey Campbell

The New York Knicks version of Bloody Sunday is upon us.

Amidst news that the biggest free agent in the NBA, Kevin Durant, has reportedly chosen to sign with the Brooklyn Nets, Ramona Shelburne of ESPN is also reporting that James Dolan and the Knicks were not willing to offer Durant a full max contract, concerned with the recovery from his Achilles injury.

At first glance, this could be the Knicks version of damage control. The orange and blue were given the ultimate gut punch when two out of the three biggest free agents reportedly chose the Nets over the Knicks. However, given the history of players coming back from an Achilles injury, the likelihood that Durant returns to MVP form is certainly in question.

Earlier this week, Marc Berman of the New York Post referenced a study from leading Achilles expert Dr. Anish Kadakia. He found that 85% of NBA players who rupture their Achilles tendon don’t last more than two seasons after their return.

“Very few players play past two seasons,’’ Kadakia explained. “Two seasons and that’s it. But after two years and you’re still playing, studies show you’ll be as good as you’d be as if you didn’t rupture — factoring in decline with age. You probably haven’t lost anything but time. But in three years, it’s not the same Durant from three weeks ago.”

New York Knicks

My personal take is that the Knicks were wise not to offer Durant the max. Despite his immense talent and gravitas as one of the game’s best players, a four-year deal really turns into two, with one year completely off the table for recovery, and another year filled with load management.

No one knows what type of player Durant will be, and when he does return, all the Knicks talk of player development will be out the window.

It may be hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel. But the Knicks exercising caution is a welcomed sight for a franchise that has often operated in desperation.

UPDATE:

Wojnarowski clarified his report after some early confusion. He stated that the front office, presumably general manager Scott Perry and team president Steve Mills, planned to “push even harder” on convincing Dolan to offer Durant a full max.

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