There is already growing buzz that the New York Knicks could be major players in free agency next summer.
In a star-studded free agent class, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant have been rumored to the Knicks through connections, relationships, and fits.
Similar to the Los Angeles Lakers this season, despite a lack of recent success, the Knicks may have a pathway to attracting free agents because of their young core and location.
A fairly quiet NBA free agency this summer may portend a massive free agency next season.
About half of the league’s talent is set to hit the open market next summer, and when the salary cap rises, many teams are expected to have the cap space to pursue those players.
Among those teams is the New York Knicks, who almost completely sat out free agency this year, making only one notable signing (forward Mario Hezonja to a one-year, $6 million deal). That was intentional by the Knicks, as they have said they plan to be aggressive next offseason with their cap space.
Next year’s free agency pool is deep and star-studded. Players like Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant, Jimmy Butler, Klay Thompson, Kawhi Leonard, and Kemba Walker can all become free agents, and several teams are already gearing up to make runs at them.
There appears to be growing buzz that the Knicks could be major players for some of those stars. Currently, the Knicks are projected to have about $22 million in cap space next summer. To open space for a max contract, about $33 million, they would have to make some moves to clear salary.
ESPN’s Zach Lowe has several times mentioned that the Knicks will pursue Kevin Durant. Of course, every team with cap space will pursue Durant if he’s available. But as Lowe pointed out in a column on Wednesday, there are some signs that could point Durant to the Knicks.
First, Durant has only signed short-term deals with the Golden State Warriors. Those who know Durant or have been around him reportedly don’t have much of a gauge of what he wants to do, and some wouldn’t be surprised if he changed teams.
Durant’s agent and business partner Rich Kleiman is from New York and has said he one day wants to run the Knicks. As Lowe noted, Knicks GM Scott Perry worked for the Seattle SuperSonics when they drafted Durant in 2008.
Consider what Los Angeles Clippers GM Michael Winger told Business Insider recently of relationships and connections around the league:
“I would submit to you that relationships might very well be the No. 1 element in doing a deal. Some players enter free agency knowing precisely what they want, where they want to be, and how they’ll approach that opportunity … I’d say most connections are based on a pre-existing relationship, somewhere in the family tree, whether that’s in the front office, the coaching staff, ownership, somebody has a relationship with either the player or the agent.”
Furthermore, Lowe, Rachel Nichols of ESPN, and Howard Beck of Bleacher Report discussed the topic …read more
Source:: Business Insider