A source told The News that the biggest fish in the summer pond, Kevin Durant, does not consider the Knicks as a destination.
Durant has said he hasn’t determined his offseason plan, a stance he maintained when asked about New York.
But why would he pick the Knicks?
Carmelo Anthony (too old) and Kristaps Porzingis (too young) don’t cleanly overlap Durant’s prime, and market size is less of a concern that in the past (though still relevant to some players). Phil Jackson, beyond drafting Porzingis, has shown only limited ability to build New York into a winner. (Again, to be fair, Jackson hasn’t had much time yet. But does Durant, who can sign anywhere, want to tie his future to an unproven Jackson and a demonstrably difficult James Dolan?)
Even if Durant believes right now he won’t choose the Knicks, he could always change his mind in the summer. New York’s unique appeal often at least gets a meeting, and that could turn Durant.
But if he’s already down on the Knicks, it’s nearly impossible to see them changing his mind. What are they going to do at this stage? Pick a star with their non-existent first-round pick? Hire Scott Brooks?
The Knicks ought to keep pursuing Durant, because he’s that good. Even a longshot chance at him justifies the effort.
But they also better be prepared to move onto Plan B.