Kevin Durant’s status for the 2019-20 NBA season is up in the air, but the New York Knicks appear willing to sign KD even after his Achilles injury. While Durant suffered a severe injury, the Knicks look to be willing to pursue Durant as long as he is on the market. Yahoo Sports reported that the Knicks are still expected to offer Durant a max deal.
Likewise, multiple league sources also told Yahoo Sports they believe the Knicks will still offer an injured Durant a max deal when free agency opens June 30.
“What you don’t know is what promises have been made,” one source told Yahoo Sports. “Have the Knicks and Clippers already made such promises? If not, are they willing to get two and a half to three years out of a guy on a four-year contract? Achilles tears take a year out of you and put your other Achilles at a much greater risk.”
The bigger question is whether the Knicks will even have an opportunity to take on the risk. Durant could choose to exercise his player-option for the 2019-20 season that would keep him in Golden State for one more season on a $31.5 million salary. With Durant’s status for next season in doubt, the All-Star could prefer to make a long-term decision after seeing the team he will take the floor with rather than committing almost a year before he will likely be able to play again.
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski Called Opting-in the “Last Resort” for Kevin Durant
The expectation is Durant will still become a free agent in less than a month as there will be plenty of teams willing to sign Durant despite the injury. It is reasonable to question how Durant’s injury will be viewed by other free agents as teams like the Knicks and Nets were hoping to pair KD with another All-Star. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski called opting-in to his current contract for another season a “last resort” for Durant.
““I think opting-in is the last resort,” Wojnarowski said, per FanSided. “[He’ll earn] $31.5 million next season — that’s really if you couldn’t find any other team to commit to you on a contract. Because even if he opts-out of the contract and even if he would get a short deal with another team, a two-year deal, that starts at $38 million. I still think that there’s going to be a market for Kevin Durant to get a long-term deal, whether it’s a max or near-max contract.”
Prior to Durant’s Injury, There Were Rumors that Kawhi Leonard Wanted to Team Up With KD in New York
Prior to the injury, there were rumors that Kawhi Leonard could be interested in teaming up with Durant in New York. Fox Sports’ Cris Carter reported that Leonard was potentially eying the Knicks in free agency.
“Interesting insight from Chris Carter this morning on @FTFonFS1. Carter, who is very close w/ Kawhi Leonard and his camp, said that: ‘I believe the Knicks have a shot to land Kawhi and KD.’ And added that Kawhi and Durant teaming up in New York is a ‘real possibility,'” NBC Sports’ Tommy Beer tweeted.