Kevin Durant may never have seriously considered signing with the Knicks.
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New York and owner Jim Dolan “were not prepared to offer” the 30-year-old star a max contract because of their concerns over his ruptured Achilles, according to a report from ESPN, which cites unidentified league sources.
Durant suffered the injury in Game 5 of the NBA Finals while with the Warriors and is expected to miss most, if not all, of 2019-20.
The forward ended up agreeing to a four-year deal with the Nets. Fellow star Kyrie Irving, who was also a Knicks target, reportedly inked a deal with Brooklyn, as well.
The Knicks have cap space to sign multiple top-level players but appear like they won’t land a star this offseason. They’re reportedly focused on adding “depth and younger players” and have agreed to a three-year deal with forward Julius Randle, according to multiple reports.
“Our plan wasn’t to create $70 million in room to go after free agents this summer,” Knicks president Steve Mills told the Undefeated earlier this week. “Our plan was to organically build this team through teamwork, drafting well, getting high-character guys that want to compete. The (salary cap) space was a byproduct of that. If the right guys are there for us, great, because we still have all the young pieces and draft picks to move forward.
“And if they’re not, we’re going to keep building our plan, drafting our guys, playing well and potentially being trade partners. We feel really good about where we are going.”
The Knicks finished 2018-19 with a 17-65 record and missed the playoffs for a sixth straight season. They selected former Duke star RJ Barrett with the No. 3 pick in the 2019 draft earlier this month.