The Knicks, who watched KD commit to the Brooklyn Nets instead on a four-year, $164 million pact, had major reservations about the superstar forward’s Achilles injury.
Coming off such a catastrophic injury, Durant was interested in only maximum contract offers. With New York unwilling to take that risk, the Knicks front office instead flew to Los Angeles to meet with and secure a commitment from Julius Randle on a three-year, $63 million deal, CAA agents Aaron Mintz and Steve Heumann told ESPN on Sunday.
Durant had long been a focus for the Knicks, who made several trades this year to secure the requisite salary-cap space to sign him and another superstar. However, their thinking changed after Durant’s injury, which is likely to keep him out all of next season.
The parties never discussed financial terms of a possible deal, but Durant wouldn’t have considered an offer below the full max, which Brooklyn, the Golden State Warriors and the LA Clippers offered, league sources said.
“While we understand that some Knicks fans could be disappointed with tonight’s news, we continue to be upbeat and confident in our plans to rebuild the Knicks to compete for championships in the future, through both the draft and targeted free agents,” Knicks president Steve Mills wrote in a statement Sunday night. The Knicks later amended the statement to also include compete for titles by “continuing to build around our core of young players”