Just a couple of days ago, Kevin Durant of the Golden State Warriors was all set to be the most prized free agent acquisition on the NBA market this summer.
One ruptured Achilles tendon later, the entire NBA offseason landscape looks different.
Durant ruptured his Achilles tendon in Game 5 of the NBA Finals, and he will likely be sidelined for about 9 months. He has a $31.5 million USD player option on his contract, but he has said he will not exercise it and will go onto the market as an injured commodity.
One of the top five players in the NBA, Durant is widely expected to sign with the New York Knicks, who are trying to secure their first NBA championship since 1973. The Knicks have enough salary cap space to acquire two maximum salary free agents, but part of their plan in putting together the worst team in the NBA this past season was to secure a high lottery pick to go along with their free agency acquisitions.
Signing an injured Durant would be like a gambling slots, but in the long term it may pay off — especially if they are able to draft Canada’s R.J. Barrett of Duke with the No. 3 overall pick.
It would be excruciating for long-suffering Knicks fans to have to wait more than half of the 2019-2020 season to see Durant wearing the orange and blue. But the flipside is that if they can field a competitive team that stays in playoff contention until Durant is ready, the payoff would come in the postseason, which is essentially similar to casino online real.
A majority of the teams in the NBA came to the realization a year ago that they would not be able to compete with the powerhouse Golden State Warriors or the three teams in the East with loaded rosters: the Toronto Raptors, Boston Celtics and Philadelphia 76ers.
In the case of the Knicks, management sold their fans on the long-term vision of clearing salary cap space — something they did in a major way at the trade deadline by sending Kristaps Porzingis, Tim Hardaway and Courtney Lee to Dallas, getting back only one good player — Dennis Smith Jr. — along with two future first-round draft picks.
The possibility remains that New York may trade its draft pick, Dallas’ draft pick and a number of promising young players on their roster to the New Orleans Pelicans in order to acquire Anthony Davis, who has listed the Knicks and Lakers as his two preferred destinations.
The Boston Celtics would love to acquire Davis, but agent Rich Paul has told the Celtics — and anyone else who will listen — that Davis would end up being a “rental” who would ditch Boston in order to sign with the team of his choice through unrestricted free agency.
No matter what, the next few days and weeks are going top be incredibly interesting for Knicks fans. The big question for now is whether they will have the patience to wait for Durant to recover from his Achilles injury.