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Report: Knicks didn’t offer Kevin Durant max contract

New York Knicks v Golden State Warriors

OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA - JANUARY 08: Kevin Durant #35 of the Golden State Warriors is guarded by Kevin Knox #20 of the New York Knicks at ORACLE Arena on January 08, 2019 in Oakland, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

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Knicks owner Jim Dolan went on TV and predicted success in free agency.

Everyone took that to mean Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. New York opened double-max cap space, and those two stars looked like the targets.

But Durant and Irving will sign with the crosstown Nets, leaving the Knicks doing pathetic damage control.

Ramona Shelburne of ESPN:

This is why the Knicks struck out on Durant and Irving. The Knicks are New York’s legacy franchise, more prestigious with a bigger fanbase. But under Dolan, they have been undermined by their own pettiness.

Why leak this now? The Knicks are attempting to appear as if they didn’t get spurned. It’s a bad look, and it won’t work.

Any team would be completely reasonable to hesitate about offering Durant a max contract ($164,255,700 over four years outside Golden State). He’ll turn 31 before the season, and he has a ruptured Achilles that will reportedly sideline him all year. He might never be the same player again.

But does anyone believe, if Durant indicated he wanted to join the Knicks on a max deal, they would’ve said no? I sure don’t.

This came out only after he chose another team.

The market dictated Durant is worth a max contract. The Warriors reportedly offered their max ($221,554,200 over five years). Brooklyn will pay him the max. If given an indication they were in the running, several other teams would have surely offered the max. He’s that special of a player.

The Knicks can try to spin this now. It’s quite possible the Nets will regret signing Durant.

But even if Durant never lives up to his contract, the Knicks will deserve credit only if you believe they’re sincere in their unwillingness to offer him the max if he wanted to come. I just don’t believe that.