Knicks Notes: Thomas, Durant, Jackson, Jennings

Lance Thomas decided to re-sign with the Knicks because he didn’t want to be known as a “loser” in New York, relays Ian Begley of Thomas, a restricted free agent, agreed to a four-year deal worth about $27.3MM. The fifth-year combo forward was born in Brooklyn and was concerned about his legacy after the Knicks finished far out of the playoff race during his two seasons with the team. “I grew up a Knicks fan; this is the team I grew up watching,” Thomas said. “Me being from the area and planning on being in the area for the majority of my life, I didn’t want my legacy as a Knick to be a loser.”

There’s more news out of New York:

  • The Knicks were hoping to meet with Kevin Durant to establish a relationship in case he tried free agency again next summer, according to Marc Berman of The New York Post. Durant can still opt out of his new contract with the Warriors in 2017, but he indicated this week that he expects to stay in Golden State for a long time. New York wasn’t one of the five teams that Durant met with last weekend, but GM Steve Mills said he was encouraged by the process. “We knew KD wanted to pick a team that had a chance to win a championship this upcoming season,” Mills said. “We didn’t fit that bill. We know if he made a decision to do a 1-and-1, we would’ve had a meeting with him. The idea he did a 1-and-1 with Golden State, my assumption is he’ll stay there.”
  • “Super teams” like the one created with Durant’s move to the Warriors, are an inevitable consequence of the sudden rise in the salary cap, Knicks president Phil Jackson says in the same story. “That’s the way it’s going to be for a while — players allowed this to go forward instead of smoothing it, so there’s tons of money,” Jackson said. “There’s an opportunity to do major moves in the NBA.”
  • Jackson expects newly signed guard Brandon Jennings to be Sixth Man of the Year next season, Begley writes in a separate piece. Jennings, who spent this season with the Pistons and Magic, inked a one-year deal with the Knicks this week for $5MM. He doesn’t mind taking on a reserve role and said he will try to live up to Jackson’s expectations. “I’m definitely gonna embrace that role,” Jennings said. “I don’t see why I can’t be in that conversation, and I’m fine with it. I’m definitely fine with it.”

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