NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C. -- Kevin Durant made a surprise appearance here at the Nike Peach Jam on Friday. Whether he ever makes an appearance in Knicks colors remains to be seen, but former New York point guard Greg Anthony believes the team will be attractive to free agents in 2019.
"Listen, there's going to be a lot of A-list guys that are going to be available, and just like with the Lakers, New York is an incredible environment," Anthony told SNY.tv. "If you can be a star there, I'm sure those guys are all going to take that stuff into consideration."
Anthony is here supporting his son Cole Anthony, a New York prep star who will take his talents to a national high school powerhouse this year before going to college in 2019. A 6-foot-3 point guard, Cole is a projected future pro down the road.
The elder Anthony said the Knicks have some nice building pieces in draft picks Kevin Knox and Mitchell Robinson -- who have excelled in Summer League -- and must continue to build their foundation around Kristaps Porzingis and their other young players.
Anthony said Knox actually compares to a young Durant.
"[Knox] is the guy closest to Durant of guys that people have talked about," he said. "His ability to score off the dribble is further along than people would think. A lot of people looked at him as a 6-10 guy who could shoot. I was surprised he didn't do more at Kentucky.
"If you notice, all those [Kentucky] guys look better. [Shai] Gilgeous-Alexander looks way better in the Summer league than he did in college because you're trying to figure out how to help your team win [in college] and sometimes it doesn't allow you to show everything you can show. Kevin's got a chance to be a special player."
Anthony says Knicks President Steve Mills and GM Scott Perry are building things the right way. "They're not signing any big free agents because they're not in a position to sign any big free agents, which probably helps them," Anthony said. "But I love what they're doing. I think they drafted extremely well. I think they've got a foundation. Their process should be a lot like the Lakers."
The Lakers, of course, built with young players and then added LeBron James this offseason. Could the Knicks follow a similar pattern in 2019?
"To get an A-list guy, they're not coming just to come," Anthony said. "They want to win. So you gotta show you got a structure and a philosophy [of], if I come there, we're going to have a chance to compete. And I think that process has begun."
Anthony pointed out that Durant will be in a similar situation in 2019 to LeBron this year.
"I would say this, Kevin Durant gave everybody the biggest clue when he signed one-and-one," Anthony said of his impending free agency next season. "What did LeBron do every year in Cleveland? He signed one-and-ones. He ultimately left. The only time he signed a four-year deal was twice, Miami and here. That tells you he ain't looking to go anywhere.
"Durant told you, 'I'm happy here.' We'll see a year from now where he is and I applaud that from him because he's keeping his options open."