New York Knicks

Latest On Kevin Durant

11:17am: Durant’s meeting with the Heat will occur on Sunday, according to an ESPN.com report from Broussard and Stein.

11:00am: Kevin Durant‘s schedule for the next several days is beginning to take shape, with a handful of reporters filling in the details on the star forward’s free agent tour. According to ESPN’s Chris Broussard (via Twitter), Durant will have his first meeting with his current team, sitting down with the Thunder in Oklahoma City on Thursday.

Once free agency officially begins on Friday, Durant will head to the Hamptons in New York for the rest of his meetings, tweets Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical. Per Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated, Durant will meet with the Warriors on Friday afternoon in the Hamptons. Meanwhile, sources tell Marc Stein of ESPN.com (Twitter link) that the Spurs’ pitch to the former MVP is scheduled for Saturday.

In addition to meeting with the Thunder, Warriors, and Spurs, Durant also has sit-downs lined up with the Heat, Celtics, and Clippers, and those meetings will take place over the first few days of July, says Broussard (via Twitter). The ESPN reporter adds (via Twitter) that the Knicks are still receiving consideration for a meeting, while the Lakers won’t get one. There’s no mention of the Hawks, who are also trying to “wedge their way” into the Durant sweepstakes, but it doesn’t look like Atlanta will get an audience with KD.

Durant has said that his top priority for his next destination is competing for a championship, and being able to do so immediately. Wojnarowski recently reported that the 27-year-old has plans to go on a publicity tour starting on July 9th, so he’ll likely make a decision before that date.

While a two-year contract with an opt-out after the first year makes the most financial sense for Durant, who could land a much larger max contract in 2017, there have been increased rumblings that he’s not eager to go through the free agent process again in a year, so it’s possible he’ll sign a long-term contract with the team he chooses.

New York Rumors: Knicks, Mozgov, Nets, Crawford

Following the trade that sent Robin Lopez to Chicago in a package for Derrick Rose, the Knicks will be focused more on frontcourt players than guards in free agency. Joakim Noah has frequently been mentioned as a target for New York, but he’s not the only free-agent-to-be big man from an Eastern rival that the Knicks will be eyeing.

According to Ian Begley of ESPN.com, some members of the Knicks organization are high on Timofey Mozgov, who will be on the team’s radar during the free agent period. As Begley observes, Mozgov would be similar to Lopez in that he wouldn’t require touches, and would provide rim protection and rebounding. And while his upside isn’t as high as Noah’s, Mozgov is younger and healthier than the longtime Bull.

Here’s more on the two New York teams, as they prepare for free agency:

  • The Nets will enter July armed with a ton of cap space, and according to Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders (Twitter link), there’s mutual interest between Brooklyn and free agent guards like Rajon Rondo and Brandon Jennings. Having agreed to send Thaddeus Young to Indiana, the Nets could have enough cap room for two max free agents, but it’s probably more likely that they spread that room out to sign a few players.
  • Another free agent guard, Jamal Crawford, is anxious, but excited, for free agency to begin, as Dan Woike of The Orange County Register details. Woike reports that Crawford has a meeting scheduled with the Clippers, but is also expected to receive interest from the Knicks and Nets, among other teams. The Heat, Raptors, Mavericks, and Magic may also have interest in Crawford, per Woike.
  • The Nets were one of three teams to have a traded player exception expire within the last few days, with their $1.358MM TPE going unused. The Hornets had two small trade exceptions expire, while the Grizzlies lost a minuscule TPE. The details on those four exceptions can be found here.

Six Teams Solidify Meetings With Kevin Durant

8:08pm: Durant will not meet with his hometown Wizards, J. Michael of CSNMidatlantic.com reports. The Wizards have already moved on with their free agency plans, as league sources told Michael that the idea of returning home “doesn’t resonate” with Durant.

MONDAY, 12:41pm: Durant and his representatives have now scheduled meetings with the Celtics, Clippers, and Heat, bringing the total number of meetings on tap for KD to six, reports ESPN’s Chris Broussard. A meeting with the Knicks also remains in play, but hasn’t yet been confirmed.

FRIDAY, 10:44pm: The Warriors, Spurs and Thunder will be the first three teams to land face-to-face recruiting meetings with Kevin Durant, writes Marc Stein of ESPN.com. Stein adds that the meetings will take place next week and more teams are expected to be granted an opportunity to make a pitch. Durant’s representatives are working to solidify meetings with the Celtics, Clippers and Heat in addition to the aforementioned teams, Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical reports.

Both the Warriors and Spurs are planning on having key members of their respective organizations in attendance, Stein adds. Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson will be among the attendees for Golden State’s pitch, while San Antonio will have Gregg Popovich and Tim Duncan among the attendees at its meeting. Sources tell Stein that the Warriors believe their chances of landing Durant have increased as a result of losing to the Cavs in the NBA Finals. Earlier this week, a source suggested to Frank Isola of the New York Daily News that the Warriors appear to be the biggest threat to land the 2013/14 MVP should he leave Oklahoma City.

Durant is expected to have his agent Rich Kleiman and a few family members and friends alongside him during the initial meetings. The meetings are expected to take place in New York, according to Wojnarowski, although teams are still awaiting official word. It was reported last week that the meetings would take place in Los Angeles, where Durant owns a home.

The Knicks and Lakers remain hopeful about getting a meeting, Stein adds. Despite no definite report of a future meeting with Durant, Ian Begley of ESPN.com tweets that the Knicks are expected to get one.

The Rockets are not expected to get serious consideration, as was previously reported, and Stein adds that the Wizards are not optimistic about their chances of landing Durant.

Durant’s top priority for a destination remains competing for a championship and doing it immediately. A source tells Wojnarowski that Durant has plans to go on a publicity tour starting on July 9, and he expects to make a decision before that date.

Carmelo Making Recruiting Pitch To Durant

The Knicks would like to set up a meeting to make their pitch to Kevin Durant, but nothing has been agree to or scheduled yet, and it remains to be seen whether that sit-down will take place. Still, that hasn’t stopped Carmelo Anthony from making his own recruiting pitch to his friend and Olympic teammate, as ESPN’s Marc Stein details.

“I’m with KD now; he’s right downstairs. We’ve been together. We’ve been talking,” Anthony told ESPN. “I do consider myself part of the Knicks, so that (free agent) meeting has already taken place.”

While tampering policies prevent teams from making contact with free-agents-to-be or their agents to discuss deals before July 1st at 12:00am, the NBA typically doesn’t police interactions between players, leaving players like Anthony and James Harden free to attempt to woo Durant, even though the Knicks and Rockets may not formally meet with him.

  • Durant may not be the only free agent to receive a call or a text from Carmelo. Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders tweets that Anthony has been selling the Knicks to a few other players as well.

Mutual Interest Between Knicks, Joakim Noah

As for DeRozan, he reportedly has no plans to meet with any teams besides the Raptors, and Amick suggests the All-Star guard may even be willing to accept a little less than the max from Toronto if it helps the team accommodate a new deal for Biyombo. If DeRozan does explore the market though, he’ll have no shortage of suitors. Amick lists the Clippers, Warriors, Heat, Knicks, and Magic as clubs with interest in DeRozan.

Latest On Jeremy Lin, Hornets

After opting out of his contract with the Hornets, Jeremy Lin is set to hit the open market in July, and Charlotte doesn’t sound overly optimistic about retaining him. According to ESPN’s Chris Broussard, the Hornets’ top priority is re-signing Nicolas Batum, and the team would also like to bring back Marvin Williams, who is a strong presence in the locker room. That may not leave much flexibility to re-sign Lin, especially since Charlotte doesn’t hold his Bird Rights.

Lin, who turns 28 in August, has played for five different teams over the course of his six-year NBA career, so while he’d like to find a team that will give him the opportunity to start, he’s also prioritizing finding a long-term home, as he nears free agency. “I’m tired of boxes, I’m tired of moving companies, and I want to find a home,” Lin said over the weekend in an interview with the World Economic Forum, per Ian Begley of ESPN.com.

Lin also said during that interview that he intends to “exhaust every opportunity” in search of the best fit, and Broussard hears that the veteran point guard will meet with three teams when the free agent recruiting period begins on July 1st. The identities of those suitors aren’t yet known.

While Lin is keeping his options open, a return to New York to rejoin the Knicks may not be in the cards. As Begley details, Lin didn’t rule out the possibility of a reunion with the Knicks, but also expressed some skepticism about the fit.

“It’s not looking likely, because they just traded for Derrick Rose,” Lin said. “But I will say that ever since I left, I’ve always been open to going back and I still am. Never say never, that’s the one thing in the NBA, never say never. So I’ve always been open, but right now, I’m not sure if it’s the best timing. But if it happens, it happens.”

In his first – and possible only – season with the Hornets, Lin averaged 11.7 points per game, right in line with his career average. Lin’s .412 FG% and 3.0 assists per game were the worst full-season marks of his NBA career, but he was still a capable backup to Kemba Walker at the point, and upped his game when given the opportunity to start (17.5 PPG, 4.8 APG, .461 FG% in 13 contests).

No Meeting Lined Up Yet For Durant, Knicks

We’re just four days away from the start of the NBA’s 2016 free agent period, and while players can’t sign contracts with teams on July 1st, plenty of clubs will be prepared to make pitches to newly-available players on Friday. We’ve heard that the Thunder, Warriors, and Spurs have scheduled meetings for Kevin Durant, with the Celtics, Heat, and Clippers also working to solidify sit-downs of their own. However, it remains to be seen whether the Knicks will be given the opportunity to meet with Durant, per Ian Begley of ESPN.com.

According to Begley, no meeting has been scheduled – or agreed to – between New York and Durant, and while the Knicks remain optimistic that they’ll ultimately receive consideration from the star forward, it’s not a great sign that they aren’t among the initial group of suitors with whom he’ll meet.

Sam Amick of USA Today suggested on Sunday that the acquisition of Derrick Rose had put the Knicks back on Durant’s radar, but Amick conceded within that report that a meeting between the two sides was no sure thing. It’s possible that after meeting with his initial six suitors, Durant will remain undecided and would be willing to take a meeting with the Knicks or another team. Still, the Knicks appear to face long odds, considering the former MVP isn’t expected to take a ton of time to make a decision.

A meeting with Durant at least remains a possibility for the Knicks. For other would-be suitors, such as the Lakers and Wizards, such a meeting appears increasingly unlikely, as Amick wrote on Sunday. The USA Today scribe hinted that if Durant takes a meeting with the Lakers, it may just be a way to help the franchise save face. As for the Wizards, they’re waiting for a call from Durant’s camp “with hopes of being surprised,” but are preparing for free agency as if the D.C. native won’t be a part of their plans.

Bulls Notes: Noah, Gibson, Gasol, Valentine

Free agent center Joakim Noah is putting together a list of possible destinations and seems increasingly likely to leave Chicago, according to Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times. Noah and his agent, Bill Duffy, are working though a priority list as they search for Noah’s next team, Cowley reports. In order, those are a winning team, a chance to start and finish games and a franchise that will support his foundation, Noah’s Arc. The Knicks’ prospects for landing Noah improved with the Derrick Rose trade, according to Cowley. The Wizards and Timberwolves, under the direction of former Chicago coach Tom Thibodeau, will also be contenders.

There’s more tonight out of Chicago:

  • The Bulls have been talking to a few teams about a trade involving Taj Gibson, Cowley writes in the same piece. The 31-year-old power forward will make $8.95MM next season in the final year of his contract. Cowley says the Bulls also seem likely to lose free agent center Pau Gasol, who will turn 36 soon and doesn’t want to be part of a rebuilding project.
  • Denzel Valentine‘s college coach says the No. 14 pick will be fine in the NBA despite concerns about the condition of his knees, relays K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune. “I think he’ll be great for the Bulls,” said Michigan State’s Tom Izzo. “I know people are worried about the knees. I’m not saying he’s got 20-year-old knees, but the guy played in 144 of 148 games. He missed some practices when he had surgery on it, but that was it. I used to have to drag him out of games. He practiced. He worked out. He loves the game.”
  • Free agent point guard Brandon Jennings could help fill the void left by the loss of Rose, suggests Kendall Gill of CSNChicago. Jennings averaged 6.9 points and 3.5 assists this season in 48 games with the Pistons and Magic.

Latest On Durant

The Lakers and Wizards are not expected to be granted a meeting with Kevin Durant once free agency begins, reports Sam Amick of USA Today. Amick adds that New York is back on Durant’s radar as a result of the Derrick Rose trade. The Knicks are expected to sit down with the 2013/14 MVP, as are the Spurs, Warriors, Celtics, Heat, and Clippers in addition to the Thunder.

Noah Is Knicks' Top Target

The Knicks badly need a starting center and their top target in free agency is Joakim Noah, writes Marc Berman of the New York Post. Newly acquired point guard Derrick Rose recently said his first priority this offseason will be convincing Noah to come to the Big Apple. “He knows that I would want to play with him [in New York],” Rose saidBerman notes that the Knicks could have upwards of $32MM in cap space this offseason.

  • The Knicks also need a shooting guard and Jamal Crawford reportedly has interest in returning to New York. However, the 36-year-old is not atop Phil Jackson‘s list, according to Berman, as he writes in the same piece.

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