Knicks use Kevin Durant photo in ticket pitch to fans, later remove it

Knicks use Kevin Durant photo in ticket pitch to fans, later remove it

Kevin Durant doesn’t want speculation that he’s signing with the New York Knicks to spread, and he made that clear in an explosive press conference last week. 

Good luck with that after what happened over the weekend.

The Knicks posted an ad on their website for season-ticket holders, asking them to commit to renewals by Feb. 28. A bold move, considering the team’s Eastern Conference-worst record of 10-45, but business is business.

Even bolder? The Knicks including a picture of KD in their pitch.

Seriously. They did that.

Needless to say, Durant’s inclusion in a Knicks season-ticket renewal campaign raised eyebrows, and the team quickly moved to remove the photo as tampering talk swirled. After all, KD very much is under contract with the Warriors right now, and he was the hero in Sunday's comeback win over the Miami Heat.

“Game action photos are used all the time for marketing purposes, but given everything going on, we took the precaution of taking the photo down,” the Knicks said in a statement provided to the New York Daily News. “To be clear, it was one of several rotating photos on the website.”

Intentional or not, the photo flap is just the latest Knicks misstep. They've traded stars Carmelo Anthony and Kristaps Porzingis in the past two years, and while you could argue the former was on the decline anyway, you can’t argue with other facts. As the Daily News pointed out, the Knicks will post their fifth consecutive season with at least 50 losses, thanks to their current franchise-record 16-game skid. Attendance at Madison Square Garden is down, as are TV ratings, according to the Daily News.

So, yeah, the Knicks need some reason for fans to get excited about the 2019-20 season. Putting KD in a season-ticket renewal is sneaky and subliminal, tugging at the emotions of a fan base that would love to have such a superstar still in his prime.

[RELATED: Why KD's future is so difficult to forecast right now]

The Knicks seriously didn't think rookie center Mitchell Robinson, who also was in the photo, would be enough to entice ticket buyers, did they? The second-round draft pick has started in just 12 of 38 games played this season, and averages 5.8 points and 4.3 rebounds in 17.4 minutes per contest. Step right up, Knicks fans!

Of course, KD’s free-agency decision remains five months away, so no one knows what will happen. But the Knicks clearly see a future that includes Durant, whether they meant to announce that or not with this photo.

Warriors vs. Clippers live stream: Watch NBA playoffs Game 4 live online


Warriors vs. Clippers live stream: Watch NBA playoffs Game 4 live online

The Warriors were back to their dominant selves in Game 3 of the NBA playoffs, and on this Easter Sunday, they look to take a resounding 3-1 first round series lead. 

After taking a 31-point lead in Game 2, the Warriors fell asleep before responding in Game 3. But for Game 4, the Dubs aren't worried about taking a step back.

Sunday will be an early start, scheduled for 12:30 p.m. The Warriors are down two centers with DeMarcus Cousins and Damian Jones ruled out.

Here's how you can watch Warriors-Clippers Game 4 on ABC, as well as NBC Sports Bay Area's "SNC: Warriors Playoff Central" pregame and postgame coverage live on the MyTeams by NBC Sports app.

When: 12:30 p.m. PT on Sunday, April 21, on ABC (pregame show starts on NBC Sports Bay Area Plus at 11:30 a.m.)
Pregame show live stream: MyTeams by NBC Sports app
Game live stream: WatchESPN

Kevon Looney would 'love to stay' with Warriors, hopes it works out

Kevon Looney would 'love to stay' with Warriors, hopes it works out

LOS ANGELES -- Aware that Steve Kerr one day earlier urged the Warriors to offer him a long-term contract, Kevon Looney paused and broke into a broad grin at the mention of it Saturday.

“Yeah, I heard what he said,” Looney said. “It’s good to have that kind of support from the coach. I hope it works out.”

Kerr made it clear Friday that he was glad Looney did not leave upon becoming a free agent last summer, adding he believes the 23-year-old center/forward had done enough to earn a long-term deal -- and that he hopes it’s with the Warriors.

So does Looney, who has become a staple of the team’s playing rotation.

“I’d love to stay here,” he said. “I like being on this team. I want to be there when Chase Center opens later this year.”

Looney is earning $1.57 million this season. The valuable backup becomes an unrestricted free agent in July, the second consecutive summer he will hit the market.

[RELATED: Why Iguodala hopes Looney leaves]

This time, however, the Warriors have Bird rights on Looney, giving them considerable financial flexibility to pursue a new contract.

“For two years now, he has been a rock for us,” Kerr said Saturday morning. “So when I mentioned that [Friday], yeah, I really hope that’s here. I want him to be here for a long time. I think everybody in this locker room wants Loon to be rewarded for his effort.”

Looney set career highs in games played (80), minutes (18.5 per game), points (6.3 points per game) and rebounds (5.2 per game), among other categories, during the 2018-19 regular season. He has averaged 11.7 points in the Warriors' three playoff games thus far.