Kevin Durant has captured the last two NBA Finals MVP awards, adding to a trophy case that includes an NBA MVP award and four scoring titles. He’s already a top 20 player all-time in NBA history, and he’s going to crack the top 10 before this decade is over.
Durant turned 30 last month and appears to be at the height of his powers. He will opt out of his contract with the Warriors at season’s end, and it’s far too early to know if he’s going to stay with the greatest dynasty since Jordan’s Bulls, or move on to another franchise.
Nine months before he has to make a decision, two teams appear to be clearly ahead of all others for his services: the Lakers and the Knicks.
Durant and LeBron would be unrivaled in the NBA, regardless of how the young Lakers mature this season. Short of the Warriors replacing Durant with Anthony Davis, it’s difficult to envision a scenario where LA wouldn’t be the favorite in the West.
But if Durant were to join the Knicks next offseason — they’re close to being able to afford a max contract player, but not quite yet — he’d likely be joining a 25 to 30 win team. It would also be a team devoid of a point guard (Frank Ntilikina is only 20, and more of a combo guard than a point) and extremely weak at 3-point shooting (29th in 3-pointers made per game last year, and tied for 25th in 3-point field goal percentage).
What’s that attraction to New York besides the city itself and coach David Fizdale? Let’s see how Kristaps Porzingis rebounds from his ACL injury. Rookie Kevin Knox looked good in Summer League but he’s only 19. Yes, LeBron left Miami to return home to Cleveland to play with an All-Star (Kyrie Irving) and he brought a top 10 player (at the time!), Kevin Love, with him but this is a different scenario.
Durant with the Knicks’ roster surely isn’t as good as a loaded a Celtics squad. And it wouldn’t be as talented as Philadelphia. And we don’t know what the future holds for the Raptors.
Yes, the NBA would love Kevin Durant in New York … but if he’s not getting out of the second round of the East, is it worth going there?