Leonard agreed earlier in the week to meet with Knicks officials, but not until today after he completed sessions with the Lakers and Clippers. New York decided its chances of luring Leonard were remote without Kevin Durant and decided to call off the meeting because of “logistics.” There had been rumors that Leonard and Durant were looking to team up with the Clippers or Knicks, but those plans were scrapped when Durant committed to the Nets on Sunday.
New York’s front office didn’t want to wait for a decision from Leonard before diving into the free agent market. Berman noted that the team exhausted nearly all of its $70MM in cap space in the first 20 hours after free agency began.
The best scenario for the Knicks, he adds, would be for Leonard to sign a one-year deal with an option in Toronto and hit the market again next summer. Julius Randle is the only one of New York’s signees to get a guaranteed multi-year deal.
There’s more from New York City:
- The Knicks plan to retain Damyean Dotson through his July 15 guarantee date, Berman adds in the same story. The second-year guard, who will earn about $1.5MM, will get increased competition for minutes from free agent additions Reggie Bullock, Wayne Ellington and Elfrid Payton.
- Tim Bontemps of ESPN examines whether the Knicks did the right thing by loading up on free agents after their top targets were off the board. While they retained their financial flexibility for the future and should put a better product on the court, they also missed out on a chance to acquire assets by saving some of that cap money to facilitate deals such as the Jimmy Butler sign-and-trade, the Andre Iguodala trade to the Grizzlies or the D’Angelo Russell trade to the Warriors.
- Kevin Knox wants to prove his omission from the All-Rookie Team was a mistake, relays Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News. Knox collected just 22 second-team votes, well short of the amount needed to earn a spot. “Yeah, of course I deserved to make it,” he said. “But it was definitely motivation. I worked hard this summer. That was kind of a chip on my shoulder for me to work hard this summer. Definitely, it was motivation. I’m going to use it for summer. I’m going to keep using it for next year.”