Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving are headed to New York City together, but after months of speculation they’d join forces in Manhattan on the Knicks, it turned out to be Brooklyn that will get the two stars together on the basketball court.
It was a brutal blow to Knicks fans who got their hopes up this season that they would be able to land someone in free agency finally, but instead they once again were simply part of rumors that turned out to not come true. Making matters worse, it appears the Knicks took themselves out of consideration for Durant on their own accord.
According to ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne, the Knicks determined prior to free agency that they would not offer Durant the full four-year max, which meant they wouldn’t even take a meeting with the star, given that it would completely preclude them from signing him.
It’s fairly stunning, and while it’s understandable to have some concern about a player coming off an Achilles injury, most teams were willing to put aside that risk with the understanding that Durant is the caliber of player that is worth the gamble. Shelburne elaborated further on The Jump saying the Knicks had resigned themselves to not getting Durant after deciding not to give him the max, sending president Scott Perry to L.A. to meet with Julius Randle and other free agents. She also said they had similar injury concerns with Durant as they had with Kristaps Porzingis, who they traded away at the deadline last year.
None of this will make Knicks fans feel better about how this all went, but it offers a glimpse into the reasoning behind the Knicks effectively bowing out of the KD sweepstakes and will only up the pressure in New York for them to make quality signings with all their space this summer.