Tag: Kyle O’Quinn

2014 Summer Classic Charity Basketball Game

Report: Kevin Durant considering Knicks, being recruited by Carmelo Anthony


When Carmelo Anthony was a free agent last summer, Kevin Durant recruited him to the Knicks.

Durant reportedly pitched Melo on the virtues of New York coach Derek Fisher, who was previously Durant’s teammate with the Thunder.

Now, Melo – who re-signed with the Knicks – is reportedly returning the favor.

Stephen A. Smith of ESPN:

I know for a fact that Carmelo Anthony has been and will continue to recruit Kevin Durant until the cows come home. I’m also hearing that Kevin Durant is giving the New York Knicks consideration.

For what it’s worth, Melo strongly denied Smith’s last major report about him, that the star forward was upset about the Knicks drafting Kristaps Porzingis. That doesn’t mean Smith was wrong, but it’s something.

To the matter at hand, I believe Durant is considering the Knicks. I also believe he’s considering the Thunder and Wizards and…

I doubt Durant has made up his mind about 2016 free agency. Why would he this soon?

But outside Oklahoma City and Washington – the two major favorites for Durant – New York would be my pick to land him. That’s still a small chance, though.

First, the Knicks must prove they have a legitimate chance of winning. I believe the New York market still appeals to players, maybe including Durant. But that’s not enough. Seventeen wins in Phil Jackson’s first full season – especially when he appeared to be targeting a playoff berth – is concerning.

The Knicks should be better this year, though. Melo will likely be healthier, and the roster has improved around him. Free agent center Robin Lopez is a significant upgrade.

Respectability on the court won’t be enough, though. New York also needs to clear cap room.

The Knicks have $67,964,567 committed to eight players. With roster charges, that puts New York $18,861,549 below the projected salary cap of $89 million.

Durant’s starting salary projects to be $25,136,700.

Player options for Arron Afflalo ($8 million) and/or Derrick Williams ($4,598,000) could clear more room. If Durant wants to come, the Knicks would surely do what it takes to dump Jose Calderon ($7,708,427), Kyle O’Quinn ($3,918,750) and/or Jerian Grant (   $1,643,040). The salary cap could also land higher than projected, though that would also raise Durant’s max salary.

Clearing cap space is an obstacle, not impossible.

New York’s market can open the door for free agents considering the Knicks. Durant’s fondness for Fisher only helps, and Melo’s recruiting could help lay the groundwork. But it ultimately falls on Jackson – the team he assembled this season boosting New York’s credibility and his ability to clear cap space and sell Durant on his vision for the Knicks.

Phil Jackson warns: Knicks might struggle early

New York Knicks Draft Picks Press Conference

Last year, Phil Jackson said he believed the Knicks would make the playoffs.

Coming off a 17-65 season, the team president is being a bit more humble this year.

Jackson, via Charlie Rosen of ESPN

“We have a number of new players, so they may struggle early as they learn how to play with each other,” he says. “Where we end up as the season progresses is an unknown, but we have improved our roster and have a chance to be a good team.”

With Robin Lopez, Arron Afflalo, Kyle O’Quinn, Kevin Seraphin, Derrick Williams, Kristaps Porzingis and Jerian Grant, the Knicks have improved their roster.

And time to build chemistry should help New York. But that’s only a secondary concern.

More than time, the Knicks need better players. Jackson did OK after the biggest free agents spurned New York, but the playoffs remain unlikely (though possible).

It should at least encourage Knicks fans that Jackson continues to take a long-term view in both words and actions. It’s been a while since this team had such a coherent and reasonable vision.

Arron Afflalo: Carmelo Anthony ‘very committed’ to Knicks

Carmelo Anthony, Arron Affalo

Knicks color commentator/former great Walt Frazier openly wondered whether Carmelo Anthony would request a trade from the Knicks.

Here’s another point of view.

Al Iannazzone of Newsday:

Arron Afflalo has worked out with Carmelo Anthony in Las Vegas and New York, and he believes the Knicks superstar is optimistic about the upcoming season.

“From our conversations, yeah,” Afflalo said Wednesday at a Knicks basketball camp. “I don’t like speaking for somebody. But from our conversations and the way he’s working in the gym, I would say so.

“He’s very committed. He seems very, very, very hungry to succeed. And we’ll see. It’ll be here shortly.”

I think Frazier is thinking a step ahead of Afflalo, who is probably correct in his own right.

It’s not difficult to see Melo – 31, overcoming injury issues, highly paid – no longer fitting with the rebuilding Knicks. But it’d also be a leap for Melo to give up at this point.

The Knicks – with Robin Lopez, Arron Afflalo, Kyle O’Quinn, Kevin Seraphin, Derrick Williams, Kristaps Porzingis and Jerian Grant – should be better than last season. There are reasons for Melo to be optimistic.

But the current bar is 17 wins. Melo’s expectations could very well rise more quickly than the Knicks can keep up. If that happens, I doubt Afflalo – or any teammate – will be the first person Melo tells about his change of heart.

Afflalo surely knows Melo well after playing together with the Nuggets, and I trust Afflalo to read Melo’s emotions. Whether Afflalo would accurately relay them to the public if they were negative is another story. Either way, if Melo loses faith in the Knicks, I doubt Afflalo breaks the news.

It remains perfectly reasonable to analyze the Knicks’ and Melo’s projected arcs and realize they might not overlap for long. But if Melo is this excited about the upcoming season, that makes it more likely he and the Knicks remain on the same page.