With Kevin Durant and the Warriors set to play in New York tonight, there has been renewed speculation this week about the possibility of Durant ending up with the Knicks when he reaches free agency in 2019.
While we’re more than eight months away from July 1, 2019, Knicks fans are already figuring out ways to sell the star forward on New York City — as we relayed on Thursday, one fan purchased a billboard near Madison Square Garden this week asking if Durant could “make NY sports great again.” The two-time Finals MVP didn’t sound overly impressed by that recruiting tactic.
As Marcus Thompson II of The Athletic writes, Durant is approaching his 2019 free agency planning to be a little more selfish than usual. Having faced a ton of criticism for his last major free agency decision, Durant has resolved to be as honest as possible this time around. For now that means admitting he’s keeping his options open, rather than trying to placate the Warriors – or any other team – with more PR-friendly comments.
After Wednesday’s win over Washington, Durant initially said he’s not thinking about his free agency, but later admitted that there’s one aspect he can’t help but keep in mind.
“I am thinking about the money I’m going to get,” Durant said, per Thompson. “I never got the (massive) deal. I’ve just seen a bunch of dudes around the league making so much money — and I’m happy for them. But I know I deserve that, too. That’s the only thing I’m probably thinking about, to be honest.”
Here’s more on Durant and his 2019 free agency:
- Asked in general terms this week about the Knicks, Durant raved about playing in Madison Square Garden, praised head coach David Fizdale, and downplayed the franchise’s past dysfunction, according to Mark Medina of The Bay Area News Group. “I never looked at this organization or any organization as just being a bad one,” Durant said. “I never really focused much on it. A lot is happening in every organization like that where players are uncomfortable or guys force a trade or coaches and GMs don’t get along. That’s the nature of the business. Even in the best organizations, that happens. It’s just a part of the NBA.”
- Addressing Durant’s contract situation, Warriors head coach Steve Kerr said that he and the All-NBA forward “never talk about it,” per Medina.
- In an article for ESPN Insider, Ian Begley, Bobby Marks, and Kevin Pelton examine whether the Knicks genuinely have a shot to sign Durant, what moves they’d have to make to offer him a maximum-salary contract, and how good the team could be with him on the roster.
- For what it’s worth, based on the NBA’s most recent salary cap projections, Durant could get up to five years and $221.27MM with the Warriors or four years and $164.05MM with any other team, as we outline here. If he decides to accept another one-plus-one deal, any team with the necessary cap room could offer him his projected max ($38.15MM) for 2019/20, matching what the Warriors could pay him for one year.