Free agency may be more than eight months away, but the public courting of Kevin Durant has already started.
With Durant and the Golden State Warriors in New York to play the New York Knicks on Friday, a marketing company has put up a billboard near Madison Square Garden recruiting Durant to New York.
The billboard features Durant in a road Knicks jersey next to Kristaps Porzingis with the question, “Can you make NY sports great again?” posted to Durant’s Instagram handle, @easymoneysniper.
Durant is holding the Larry O’Brien Trophy, something the Knicks last won in 1973. The billboard also features the hashtag #KDNY2019.
The Knicks expect to have enough cap space this summer to pay a max free agent such as Durant. They are one of many clubs who will have strong interest in the former MVP if he opts out of the final year of his contract and tests free agency, as expected.
To open up cap space, the Knicks recently waived Joakim Noah and stretched the final season of his contract, and decided against extending Porzingis’ rookie contract prior to the deadline earlier this month.
New York currently projects to have $31 million in room next summer. That number does not factor in the salary owed to its 2019 first-round pick or the free-agent hold of Enes Kanter, who is in the final year of his contract.
The projected max contract for Durant, a player with 10-plus years of service, is $38.15 million.
So the Knicks would need to complete at least one more transaction that reduces their 2019-20 salary commitments in order to sign Durant to a max contract.
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