Earlier this season, an NBA Eastern Conference executive told me, “Kevin Durant is going to the Knicks.”
Now, whether Durant ends up with New York is irrelevant.
The executive requested anonymity because he was not authorized to speak about potential future moves involving players from other teams. But the fact NBA executives believe this move is possible says enough and has league-altering ramifications. And the Knicks’ trade on Thursday did nothing to change that perception.
The NBA’s axis is spinning fast. It’s peak NBA this week, right alongside the Super Bowl in the national sports conversation.
Anthony Davis wants to be traded, the Knicks traded Kristaps Porzingis, the Mavericks can pair Porzingis next to rookie Luka Doncic and the Knicks just created salary cap space for two max salary players: hello Durant and Kyrie Irving.
Irving’s comments Friday morning – his Celtics are in New York to play the Knicks – added another log to the winter fire. “I don’t owe anybody (expletive),” Irving said when asked about free agency.
The 2019 summer of free agency is taking a new shape with wide-open possibilities, and the pressure is on the Knicks.
On a teleconference Thursday night, Knicks president Steve Mills and general manager Scott Perry downplayed the pressure.