LeBron James signed with the Los Angeles Lakers, a prestigious franchise in a large market.
Kevin Durant can become a free agent next summer, and – oh hey, there’s the Knicks, a prestigious franchise in a large market.
Chris Haynes on Fox Sports 1:
The New York Knicks have a very good shot at luring KD away from the Bay Area. The reason I say that is his business partner, Rich Kleiman is based in New York, huge New York Knicks fan. Their business is located and based in New York. KD’s dad is a big New York Knicks fan. The same allure that LeBron had toward the Los Angeles Lakers – just the building, the culture – is the same thing, the same way, I know, that KD feels about the Knicks.
Haynes still gave the Warriors the edge to re-sign Durant. Remember, LeBron was on a Cavaliers team with an owner he disliked and supporting cast he couldn’t trust. Durant doesn’t have those problems in Golden State, so outside franchises might not sway him the same way.
But Haynes could be in the minority in believing Durant will return to the Warriors.
Tim Bontemps of The Washington Post on the “Yahoo Sports NBA: Chris Mannix” podcast:
If you polled people around the league right now, a lot more people think he’s going to the Knicks and then maybe to the L.A. teams before he’s going to stay with the Warriors.
Along those lines, I’ve been really surprised at how many people are – NBA types that I talk to on a regular basis – are convinced it’s going to be New York. There are a lot of people, Tim, that believe the Knicks are a prohibitive favorite to land Durant.
Durant-Knicks rumors have swirled for a while, and so has the idea of Durant modeling his career after LeBron. But a good reminder: Last time we thought Durant would follow in LeBron’s footsteps, it meant Durant signing with his hometown team. Of course Durant barely gave the Wizards a look in 2016 free agency.
He didn’t meet with New York that summer, either, for what it’s worth.
I’d still consider Warriors favorites to re-sign Durant, but the increasing New York chatter is impossible to ignore.