Wednesday, June 11, 2014
Fisher could help bring Durant to Knicks
By Ian Begley
When talking about Kevin Durant's free agency and the possibility of Durant's landing in New York, you have to start here: Every team with cap space is going to be vying for his services in the summer of 2016.
You also have to remember this: Durant is extremely loyal to the Oklahoma City Thunder, the organization in which he grew from a skinny prospect to one of the top players in the NBA. Durant, too, will be able to make more money if he re-signs with the Thunder as opposed to another team.
But Knicks fans keeping tabs on Durant should know that one recent transaction in New York may have a significant impact on Durant's decision two years from now: the hiring of Derek Fisher.
Durant and Fisher grew very close during Fisher’s time with the Thunder. Fisher took on the role of a mentor/big brother to the young star. Durant has referred to Fisher as one of the best leaders he’s been around and recently endorsed his move to the bench.
“Without a doubt. He’s a smart guy, smart mind. He’s a great motivator, great speaker and can really relate to a lot of guys and demands that respect from everybody,” Durant said before the Knicks hired Fisher. “He’s a great locker room guy. I’m sure he’ll do a great job."
Now, any talk of Durant to New York is purely speculation. Plenty can happen between now and the summer of '16.
Phil Jackson and the Knicks could use their allotted cap space on another player, ruling themselves out of the Durant sweepstakes. Durant could win a title or two in Oklahoma City, all but sealing his return to the Thunder.
But if Oklahoma City fails to win a championship, that could change Durant’s thinking.
It may be hard to fathom given Durant’s impassioned MVP speech, but some of those close to Durant believe that as much as he loves OKC, he may leave in free agency if things don’t change.
“He only wants to win a championship,” one league source familiar with Durant’s thinking said Tuesday. And Fisher’s presence could help lead him to New York if he decides to bolt Oklahoma City.
“It will definitely be a factor,” the league source said.
There is another, obvious link between Durant and New York City. His agency, Roc Nation Sports, is headed by Jay Z, one of the Big Apple’s most well-known residents.
Again, just to be clear, plenty can happen between now and 2016 -- for both Durant and the Knicks. But if New York is in position to pursue Durant in the summer of 2016, the organization gave itself a strong bargaining chip Monday by hiring Fisher.
Question: Do you think the Knicks should hold off on pursuing free agents in 2015 to have enough money to go after Kevin Durant?