Knicks president adds fuel to fire surrounding Kevin Durant's free agency


Knicks president adds fuel to fire surrounding Kevin Durant's free agency

Every time Kevin Durant goes out and torches an opponent this postseason, it will be impossible not to think about what could be next for the Warriors star.

Durant has the option to opt out of his contract at the end of the season and become a free agent, a move that almost everyone expects the two-time NBA Finals MVP to make. 

Should Durant hit the open market, he'll have a number of teams vying or his services, with the New York Knicks expected to be the team that lands the 7-foot star should he leave the Bay Area.

While Durant has been adamant that he has yet to make his free-agency decision, Knicks president Steve Mills sure sounds optimistic that something good is coming the Knicks' way. 

"We’re hopeful and we’re excited,’’ Mills told The New York Post. “We’re excited because now we’re in position. There’s a lot of noise and a lot of guys are interested in New York. They like [head coach David Fizdale]. They like some of the changes we made in the organization. We hear that from agents. We read it from guys getting interviewed about what guys feel about the Knicks. We hear that from other players. At least we’re in the game, and hopeful something really good happens. But we won’t know until it happens."

“It also gives us the opportunity that if things don’t happen in free agency, we’re sticking to our plan. We’re not going to sign the wrong players just because we have room and the fans have great expectations. They should have expectations we make the right decisions. It gives us the opportunities to eventually explore trades and take guys into [that] room.”

Interesting. Of course, what's he supposed to say?

Regardless, the fact that Mills is hearing free agents are interested in the Knicks should worry just about every fan base that has a marquee player set to hit free agency this offseason.

The noise surrounding a potential Durant-Knicks union has been around all season, but it got louder in January when New York traded Kristaps Porzingis to the Dallas Mavericks, opening up $74 million in cap space, which is enough for two max free agents. 

Durant will undoubtedly be the big fish the Knicks chase this offseason if given the chance, but with Kyrie Irving, Kawhi Leonard, Jimmy Butler and Kemba Walker also hitting the market, the Knicks will potentially have the ability to pair Durant with another superstar, most likely Irving if everything goes their way. Oh, and the Knicks -- thanks to a 17-65 record -- have a 14  percent chance of landing the No. 1 overall pick to select Duke phenom Zion Williamson.

While the Knicks appear to be in a good place to woo Durant and potentially Irving, should he opt out of his contract, Knicks general manager Scott Perry is trying to temper expectations a bit.

“Our vision is eventually is to become a championship-caliber team,’’ Perry said. “All our planning has that in mind. We’re not going to look at this summer as the end-all or be-all, per se. We’re excited to be in the game. We’re not going to go off the rails if we don’t get what you’re talking about. We’ll be very comfortable with the draft and what we can add via trade to be a better basketball team.”

Durant's body language recently has made it seem like he's ready for a fresh start, as some reports have indicated. After turning the ball over nine times and putting up only eight shots in the Warriors' Game 2 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers, it looked like the star might need a push to get re-engaged as the playoffs ramp up.

As it turns out, all the 2014 MVP needed was for people to suggest Patrick Beverley had been bothering him on the offensive end.  Durant came out in Thursday's Game 3 and tortured the Clippers, pouring in 38 points on 14-for-23 shooting in the Dubs' 132-105 win.

[RELATED: Warriors reportedly complained to NBA about Patrick Beverley's defense on Kevin Durant]

Somewhere Mills and Perry were watching Durant light the Clippers on fire, and they were smiling while thinking about the show he might be putting on at Madison Square Garden in a few months.

Warriors' Steph Curry wants in on next iteration of 'The Match' event

Warriors' Steph Curry wants in on next iteration of 'The Match' event

Warriors star Steph Curry wants in.

Capital One’s “The Match” featuring NFL stars Tom Brady and Peyton Manning playing golf with PGA icons Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson hasn’t exactly gone according to plan. Inclement weather delayed the start, and the former Super Bowl-winning quarterbacks now are realizing just how difficult playing golf on national television can be.

Curry tweeted that he’d like to be included in the next iteration, saying that he's missing being out on the greens.

[RELATED: Watch Tom Brady get trolled by Samuel L. Jackson in 'The Match' intros]

His former teammate and course partner Andre Iguodala also is hoping Curry can bring some more skill to the event.

Who would you want to see Curry play with?

[RUNNIN' PLAYS PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

Why Warriors thought Steve Kerr wasn't considering coaching job in 2014

Why Warriors thought Steve Kerr wasn't considering coaching job in 2014

After the Warriors moved on from Mark Jackson as head coach in 2014, the search narrowed on two final candidates: former Orlando Magic coach Stan Van Gundy and then-TNT broadcaster Steve Kerr.

Former Warriors assistant general manager Travis Schlenk was part of the team that interviewed both contenders and says the front office at one point wasn’t sure they’d even get a chance to sit down with Kerr during the process.

[RUNNIN' PLAYS PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

“Steve was being courted very hard by Phil Jackson and the New York Knicks,” Schlenk said  last week on 95.7 The Game. “And at one point during the process, it felt like that’s where he was going to go. And so we didn’t think that we were going to even have an opportunity to really sit down and talk with Steve.

“And I believe it was while we were meeting with Stan down in Orlando, that Steve called Bob and said he kinda had a change of heart and he wanted to meet with us.”

Kerr’s relationship with Jackson went all the way back to their days with Michael Jordan and the Bulls, which America just got to relive through ESPN’s “The Last Dance” documentary series.

[RELATED: Best Warriors' 10-man lineup using their draft picks over last 30 years]

Van Gundy ultimately chose the Detroit Pistons, giving him an opportunity to oversee basketball operations as well as coach the team. Reports at the time indicated the Warriors were not willing to give Van Gundy the same universal control over basketball decision-making.

It’s safe to say Schlenk and the Warriors got the right guy, as Kerr helped bring three NBA championships to the Bay Area and the team’s success eventually led Schlenk to taking over as the Atlanta Hawks’ GM, where he has been since 2017.