It would appear that Kevin Durant’s free agency decision ultimately didn’t come down to Knicks ownership or being lowballed. While it’s no consolation to New York Knicks fans, there’s at least a clearer picture as to why he chose Brooklyn over Madison Square Garden.
According to Bleacher Report NBA insider Howard Beck, Durant never considered going to the Knicks (or any team) without a fellow star joining him. Kyrie Irving had made up his mind to go elsewhere long before the free agency weekend, and per the report, they agreed to play together no matter where they ended up.
By the time the playoffs arrived, the outline of a plan was set. Although rival executives widely believed Irving and Durant were headed for the Knicks, the two stars had in fact veered away from that idea months ago, the source said.
Once Irving locked on Brooklyn, Durant was almost certain to join him. He never considered going to the Knicks alone.
Essentially, any Durant-to-Knicks deal was dead as soon as Kyrie Irving went to Brooklyn. Durant announced his decision on Sunday afternoon, and will reportedly sign a four-year, $164 million contract.
Kyrie is getting paid as well, signing a four-year $141 million deal of his own.
An NBA revival is coming to New York. Just not in the borough most expected. Inside the KD/Kyrie decision:https://t.co/2rLPveBBql
— Howard Beck (@HowardBeck) July 1, 2019
Durant is unlikely to play for the Nets in the first year of his deal, though. He suffered a ruptured Achilles in the 2019 NBA Finals that will keep him sidelined for most if not all of the 2019-20 season.
Kyrie, on the other hand, will be joining a young core of Nets players that went 42-40 last season, making the playoffs in the process.
While the Nets may not be NBA title contenders this coming year, getting a healthy Kevin Durant for the 2020-21 season could quickly make them favorites to win it all.
As for the Knicks, they have now been snubbed by KD, Kyrie, and a litany of other big-name free agents.