Knicks Viewed As Legit Suitor For Durant In 2019

Kevin Durant‘s next opportunity to reach free agency is nearly nine months away, but speculation about his decision has already begun. And according to various reports compiled by Dan Feldman of NBC Sports, the Knicks are viewed by many insiders around the NBA as a legitimate candidate to challenge the Warriors for Durant.

“The New York Knicks have a very good shot at luring KD away from the Bay Area,” Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports said during an appearance on FS1’s Undisputed (video link). “His business partner, Rich Kleiman is based in New York, huge New York Knicks fan. Their business is located and based in New York. KD’s dad is a big New York Knicks fan. The same allure that LeBron [James] had toward the Los Angeles Lakers – just the building, the culture – is the same thing, the same way, I know, that KD feels about the Knicks.”

Having named New York as a viable landing spot for Durant, Haynes cautioned that the Warriors will still “obviously” have the edge to re-sign him. Golden State will hold Durant’s Bird rights at the end of the 2018/19 season, and because he’ll have 10+ years of NBA experience, he’ll be eligible to earn a starting salary worth 35% of the cap.

Based on current cap projections, that means the Dubs could offer a five-year deal worth up to $221.27MM, giving them a significant upper hand. Any rival suitors with the cap room necessary to sign a maximum-salary free agent could only offer a four-year contract worth a projected $164.05MM.

[RELATED: Durant plans to be open, honest about 2019 free agency process]

Still, Haynes isn’t the only national NBA reporter hearing buzz about the Knicks and Durant. As Feldman details, Tim Bontemps of The Washington Post and Chris Mannix of Yahoo Sports both conveyed similar sentiments during Bontemps’ recent appearance on Mannix’s podcast.

“I’ve been really surprised at how many people are – NBA types that I talk to on a regular basis – are convinced it’s going to be New York,” Mannix said. “There are a lot of people, Tim, that believe the Knicks are a prohibitive favorite to land Durant.”

If the Warriors win their third straight championship next spring, it’s hard to imagine Durant jumping ship. Of course, if Golden State falls short of a title, leaving also may not be a great look for the two-time Finals MVP, who was criticized for leaving the Thunder after they blew a 3-1 series lead against the Warriors in 2016. Throw in Golden State’s ability to offer the most years and money, and it makes sense that the Dubs would still be considered the odds-on favorites. Still, it sounds like Durant’s 2019 free agency won’t be a mere formality like it has been the last couple summers.

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37 thoughts on “Knicks Viewed As Legit Suitor For Durant In 2019

  1. Nebrasketball

    He’d be leaving around $57.22 million on the table… though he could conceivably get some of that back with an extra year after the end of the contract.

    But I’d have a heck of time giving up nearly $60 million dollars in guaranteed money – assuming, of course, that the Warriors offer that (which they 100% should!).

    I’d like to see him go to another team, because I think that would be more fun for the NBA. But it’s not like it’s an insignificant amount of money. I guess he could make more in merch deals etc, but it would have to be A LOT more than he’s getting in Golden State.

    I kind of thought that Durant would consider going to play with LeBron in LA, but I never looked at how much $ it would cost him.

    • ryker2018

      I think money is important but KD is getting plenty of endorsements much higher that the contracts that he got from the Warriors . If he moves to NY , he will have to build a new team with chemistry to make it to the Finals , sometimes f
      Greediness can mess up your life . Players are willing to take less to have a title , Even if KD took a lower contract , it is still a lot of
      Money plus he will still keep happiness playing for such a great team .

  2. antsmith7

    LeBron in LA and KD in New York would absolutely be the best thing for the NBA. Imagine a Lakers-Knicks Finals with LeBron vs KD!

  3. I don’t see the away from basketball dollars being much bigger by going to NY. If there’s one thing that you see in basketball more than any of the major sports is that big or small market, if you’re a superstar, you’re going to get endorsements. LBJ didn’t suffer in Cleveland, Russ doesn’t in OKC.

    The reason I could see Durant leaving the Warriors for the Knicks is the similarities to Bron leaving Miami.

    LBJ built a super team, won a couple of Chips, and went back to Cleveland to turn the franchise back around. Yes, it was his hometown team, unlike Durant in NY, but becoming the guy who turns the Knicks around would be huge. Win or lose in Golden State this year, what’s left to prove there? Two Chips, two finals MVP’s.

    I also appreciate leaving $50M+ on the table is difficult, you he has the financial flexibility to do so if he really wants to be in NY.

    • …”one thing that you see in basketball more than any of the major sports is that big or small market, if you’re a superstar, you’re going to get endorsements.”

      You got that right!

      – Kawhi Leonard

    • Just like the Knicks wanting Kyrie, he can make more money where he’s at, and why leave when he can’t get it any better than where he’s at. And he loves Klay, Steph, Draymond, and Coach Kerr.

    • ryker2018

      The only way that KD would move to Another team is only if he gets to have the option to be part of the ownership of a team in the future , but it may have legal issues , maybe not allowable . . KD mentioned that his dream is to own a team . I think that is the only thing left in his bucket list , maybe behind closed doors , he already spoke to the Warrior’s ownership and he will have part of this ownership and set his family and future generations to come for life ,

  4. emac22

    You forgot about the luxury tax somehow.

    If you’re going to pretend the warriors are going to give him 35% of the cap and that the decision is going to be up to Durant to take it or not you should outline how much tax the warriors will pay if they resign him and Klay while renewing Dray.

    I hope you’re aware of how prohibitive that would be though the owner can obviously afford it.

    • Nebrasketball

      I think this is a fair comment…

      But a smart owner should also recognize the value added to a franchise by winning multiple championships and holding a legendarily great group of players together.

      It will cost a lot of $$$ now – but I suspect it would lead to even greater value down the road. Resigning Durant could mean maybe going from a couple of championships to 5+ championships… that could see the Warriors’ team value increase by a billion dollars.

      • ryker2018

        Good point ! It is a god proven investment . KD have plenty of endorsements coming from other companies , whatever contract he gets from there Warriors for sure it won’t be the league’s minimum , so I think the warriors won’t go crazy maximizing the contract , the factor of KD ‘s happiness should be included and it isn’t’t always about money.

    • Luke Adams

      I outlined what the Warriors will be eligible to offer — there’s no guarantee they’ll actually put the max on the table, but even if they don’t, they have a ton of room to beat any other team’s offer.

      Plus, with Iguodala and Livingston coming off the books soon and the tax line projected to increase by another $20MM within the next two years, the future tax penalties probably wouldn’t be as prohibitive as you’d think, unless they give both Klay and Draymond new max deals too (which I think is less likely than them offering Durant the max). It would certainly be an expensive roster, but the team has been a cash cow the last few years and that should only continue with the new arena opening — by all accounts, the owners are willing to pay what it takes to keep the good times rolling: link to

      • How much extra do you think the Warriors earn from winning the championship, and how much extra do you think they will make from the new arena? I read they made money last year. For the best article I’ve ever seen on Durant, go to @Zach Lowe twitter, “What does Durant want?” It’s long, but very good. I don’t know how to do your link to underlined or I would. Obviously I spend all day searching the web.

        • I read today on the Forbes 400 list that the average NBA franchise is worth $634 million, with 14 NBA owners being billionaires, and Steve Balmer and Paul Allen topping the list at over $20 billion.

        • Luke Adams

          That sort of data is hard to come by, since it’s not publicly available in the same way that salaries are. Tim Kawakami has some estimates in that Athletic article I linked, if you have a subscription. ESPN also estimated last year that the Warriors stood to make about $11MM per home playoff game: link to

          • I just got a membership. I just saw the Forbes article today. Everybody is writing about Durant, but I’ve read him and Klay want to play in the new arena. I know Durant is the big story, so we’ll here he’s going everywhere until he signs.

        • x%sure

          ptn– In short, copy the target URL and paste it in the HR comment-box. HR mods check it and it shows up eventually. IDK what your holup is, I’d say do your thing in a library then ask a librarian.

          • I thought they were joking when they told me about the internet. We used to piss off our parents telling them they had to drive us to the library. TV was the worst. We got ABC, CBS, and NBC, that’s it.

  5. RenoChris

    Rather it be New York than LA. He’ll give the Warriors fits either way but he and Lebron together makes a great combo

  6. The Knicks and Lakers are only 2 of 30 NBA teams. I think the majority of the people still like seeing the Warriors the way they are. I also think Boston would be fun to watch, but Toronto can cause a problem. Kevin Durant said recently about his teammates, “We care about each other and look out for each other. Most of all when I enter there’s no judgement here, and I love it here.”

      • I think the Finals ratings will be way up next year. The Cavs not being competitive anymore dropped the ratings. Watching the Warriors is just like watching the old Bulls, Celtics, or Lakers. The old Celtics dynasty lasted 15 years. The Warriors dynasty is only on year 5.

        • Reflect

          The difference between the Warriors and those other dynasties is that those other dynasties were all simultaneous. Lakers and Celtics were both elite at the same time. Bulls and Pistons were both elite at the same time.

          Dynasties are cool if there’s at least 2 of them happening at once. The problem is that most years, no one even comes close to the Warriors.

          • The Bulls dynasty was by itself. The Celtics won 13 titles in 14 years. I enjoy Steph and his family. I remember Klay’s dad play basketball with Dave Winfield at the University of Minnesota. I watched Draymond at Michigan State. The Celtics will give the Warriors a better series than the Cavs did, and the tv ratings will be much higher. We’ll see.

    • bowserhound

      None of the old dynasties were bought like the Warriors current streak. They were 500% more organically built teams back then.
      The Dubs were a really good team with just Steph, Klay, and Dray…adding Durrant just made them stupid good, and now Boogie makes them insane on paper.

      • DubbCity

        500% more organically built? How do you think the Bulls were built?

        Jordan, Pippen, and Horace Grant (1st 3) were the only players drafted by the Bulls in the starting lineup of those championship runs.

        Paxton –>Spurs, then Bulls
        Cartwright –> Knicks, then Bulls
        Haper -> Cavs, Clippers, then Bulls
        Rodman –> Pistons (Where he won and lost a Championship already, at height of piston-bulls rivalry), Spurs, then Bulls
        Kerr –> Suns, Cavs, Magic, then Bulls

  7. Reflect

    We see these articles about literally every player. Kyrie, Kawhi were both locks to go there too.

    • Luke Adams

      Just copied+pasted the URL into the comment. Unfortunately those links only show up on the desktop/mobile versions of the site and not in the app.

      • I only have a desktop. I keep saying where I get the stuff from since I’m not a computer expert. In my young days we had tv’s with tubes in them and 3 stations and for info we had to go to the library and get a stack of newspapers off the shelves.

  8. Read the entire article. Their local tv revenue goes up from $35mm to $65mm in a couple years. They’ve already received $70mm+ from fans wanting to reserve seats. That’s only half the seats, and that’s only the membership fee. Sounds like a massive arena. Forbes said they made $120mm last season. The writer says yes they can afford it. I hope so. I’ve never seen 4 more unselfish guys playing together the way they do. I’ll google how to do the reference thing. I have more time to play around on the web than you do. Amico Hoops has been beating people to stories. Bing always has a bunch. NBC Sports too. And I like twitter.

  9. JoeyPankake

    I have never seen the media as desperate for a team to break up as they are with the Warriors. It’s getting rather pathetic at this point.

    • Klay, Steph, Kevin, Draymond, and Steve Kerr don’t want to split up. The article from the Athletic shows the Warriors owner will be able to afford to pay them. That’s what matters. Let the people gossip.

  10. wellyou'rewrong

    Isn’t it cool bad franchises can get great players just because they play in overrated cities (because remember the players are poor and cant go there anytime they like)? Oh well Knicks will still mess it up somehow and he’ll stay in GS

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