The Knicks are heading into the offseason the ability to carve out cap space for two max contracts. Kevin Durant has long been rumored as a target, though he isn’t the only star they will shoot for.
Whispers that the Knicks wouldn’t look to the next level of stars should they strike out on the top of the market began to surface recently. However, Spears hears that the front office is interested in Tobias Harris and Nikola Vucevic, both player that GM Scott Perry knows from his time in the Magic organization.
While Harris and Vucevic are considered a tier below the Durant-Leonard-level stars, both players are expected to garner max contracts on the open market. Here’s more from Spears on the Knicks:
- New York and Julius Randle have a mutual interest, sources tell Spears. Randle has previously been linked to the franchise.
- DeMarcus Cousins, DeAndre Jordan, Markieff Morris, and Marcus Morris are among the players on the Knicks’ radar, Spears writes. Jordan is reportedly a target of the crosstown Nets.
- The Knicks‘ reputation has come a long way in just two years. No. 3 overall pick R.J. Barrett openly declared that he wanted to be in New York leading up to the draft. Team president Steve Mills said that in 2017, several Kentucky prospects didn’t want to meet with the team during the pre-draft process. “It was frustrating for me because I had never been in a situation where, especially rookies, there was a narrative amongst the young guys that they didn’t want to come play for the Knicks,” Mills said. “They didn’t want to meet with us in Chicago. I said, ‘We’ve got to change that and start with the young guys.’ ”
- Mills added that the front office has the green light to take a patient approach this offseason should the team miss out on stars. “If the right guys are there for us, great, because we still have all the young pieces and draft picks to move forward,” Mills tells Spears.“And if they’re not, we’re going to keep building our plan, drafting our guys, playing well and potentially being trade partners. We feel really good about where we are going.”