The Knicks were never granted an official meeting with Kevin Durant before he agreed to sign with the Brooklyn Nets on Sunday, but it appears their pitch would've fallen short anyway.
According to ESPN's Ramona Shelburne and Adrian Wojnarowski, Knicks owner James Dolan was not prepared to offer the free-agent superstar a max four-year, $164 million contract over concerns about his recovery from a ruptured Achilles tendon.
Durant suffered the injury to his right leg earlier this month in Game 5 of the NBA Finals and could very well miss all of next season after undergoing surgery. He will be 32 years old when the 2020-21 season begins.
Durant's situation obviously didn't scare off the Nets, who landed him and are reportedly signing point guard Kyrie Irving as well. The Nets are believed to have offered Durant a max deal, but he and Irving accepted less than they were eligible for so that Brooklyn could also sign veteran center DeAndre Jordan to a four-year, $40 million contract.
A 10-time All-Star, Durant was linked to the Knicks for months, with many reports suggesting he was the front-runner for his services. ESPN reported that the team and Durant never discussed financial terms.
Knicks president Steve Mills issued a statement Sunday night saying: "While we understand that some Knicks fans could be disappointed with tonight’s news, we continue to be upbeat and confident in our plans to rebuild the Knicks to compete for championships in the future, through both the draft and targeted free agents.”
The Knicks' top target now is Kawhi Leonard, who led the Toronto Raptors to their first NBA championship this past season. Knicks officials were reportedly in Los Angeles on Sunday night awaiting a meeting with Leonard. The 28-year-old small forward is believed to be choosing between the Raptors, Lakers, Clippers and Knicks.
In the meantime, New York agreed to terms with power forward/center Julius Randle, most recently of the New Orleans Pelicans, on a three-year, $63 million contract, ESPN reported.