With less than a week to go until his free agency kicks off, Kevin Durant is starting to nail down his plans for meetings. Thus far, six teams have been granted a sit-down with the most anticipated free agent in the NBA since LeBron James in 2010: the incumbent Thunder, plus the Clippers, Spurs, Heat, Warriors and Celtics. The Lakers and Durant’s hometown Wizards have all but been ruled out.
The Knicks? They’re in the middle somewhere. Whispers persist that they’re still in the running, but according to ESPN.com’s Ian Begley, thus far, there are no plans for a meeting between the two sides:
No meeting has been scheduled – or agreed to – between the Knicks and Kevin Durant at this point, sources say. The Knicks are optimistic that they’ll ultimately get consideration from Durant but they were not among the initial group of teams with whom Durant agreed to meet. The Golden State Warriors, San Antonio Spurs and Oklahoma City Thunder are the first known teams to secure a meeting with Durant, according to ESPN’s Marc Stein. Durant’s ties to the Knicks include his strong relationship with Carmelo Anthony and the relationship between his agent, Rich Kleiman of Roc Nation Sports, and Knicks GM Steve Mills. Still, given that New York is not among the first group of teams with whom Durant has agreed to meet, it seems as if the club faces long odds to sign him.
Even if the Knicks get a meeting with Durant, it’s tough to imagine them having a real shot in the sweepstakes. All six of the teams he’s set to meet with were playoff teams this season, and three (the Thunder, Spurs and Warriors) were serious title contenders. The Knicks have missed the playoffs the past three seasons and are currently built around a 32-year-old Carmelo Anthony and, now, Derrick Rose coming off several years of inconsistent, injury-riddled play. They also have a new coach, Jeff Hornacek. Kristaps Porzingis is one of the best young prospects in the league, but he’s going to need a few more seasons to really blossom into a star, which doesn’t really do much to help Durant’s cause if he wants to win a title now.
Durant has said that he’s going to make his free-agency decision based on basketball, and the Knicks just don’t have as much to offer on that end. All a meeting would really accomplish would be for his agent to do Steve Mills a favor and make them appear more legitimate to other free agents, much like Dwight Howard‘s meeting with the Warriors in 2013. In terms of the chances that he would actually go there given his other options, a meeting would be a waste of time for both sides.