Check All-Star SG Jimmy Butler off the Knicks' free-agent targets list. Or at least that's what it sounds like after the Sixers struck a deal with the Timberwolves for Butler on Saturday.
The Sixers landed Butler and C Justin Patton in return for SG Robert Covington, F Dario Saric, and a 2022 second-round draft pick. And they do so with the full intention of signing Butler to a long-term deal before he reaches free agency, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.
The Knicks are expected to be very active this offseason, having enough cap room to sign a prolific superstar to a max deal if they can convince one to do so. Butler was a target for New York, but he is now off the table -- in the Eastern Conference nonetheless.
So where does that leave the Knicks? They still have a few options to work with at the moment, granted no other moves are made by opposing teams...
Warriors PF Kevin Durant
Durant is arguably the best talent entering this free agent class, and there is reason to believe he wants to leave Golden State to pursue his career elsewhere. Not many would say that, but Durant's quest of winning an NBA title was fulfilled two seasons in a row -- being named Finals MVP for both titles in the process.
New York has already jumped on recruiting Durant, having a giant billboard saying "Can you make NY sports great again?" hang in its streets. Durant, though, isn't a big fan of the glorified razzle dazzle that many cities try to dish out.
"To be honest, I don't know how I feel about that type of stuff," Durant said Thursday, per Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News. "It's cool. No disrespect, but I'm not really impressed with that type of stuff. I just really like playing basketball. I try to focus - my entertainment is really what happens on the basketball court. You know what I'm saying? I know all of that stuff is a part of it, but for me I don't really get up for that stuff."
Durant may not be impressed by that, but hopefully he was impressed by what he saw at MSG when the Warriors came to town earlier this season. The crowd screamed as he was announced, and while the Knicks made the game very competitive, Durant was the eventual killer as his fourth quarter eruption landed a double-digit victory for Golden State.
From the prospect of being the team's franchise star to being the godfather to an assistant coach's daughter, all signs point to the Knicks going hard after Durant.
Warriors SG Klay Thompson
Did someone say 2-for-1 deal? It's certainly a possibility that the Knicks can sign Durant and Thompson this offseason given their cap situation. But, realistically, they can only land one.
Durant is the obvious first choice, but if they miss out, Thompson would be more than a solid signing. A four-time All-Star, Thompson is a lights out shooter, who has shot over 40 percent from three since he entered the league in 2011. He is also capable of taking over at any moment (just look at his 60 points in 29 minutes back in 2016).
Like Durant, it is unknown what Thompson is thinking. Does he want to stay with the Warriors dynasty? Or does he want to be the man elsewhere? The Knicks could give him an offer he can't refuse.
Celtics PG Kyrie Irving
Irving has already promised the Celtics and its fanbase that he is hoping to re-sign with them long term. He believes he has found his niche in Boston, and with a great supporting cast, Irving can continue to be the man in the Northeast.
But, until a deal is inked, Irving is still on the table for the Knicks. He mentioned back when the Celtics came to The Garden that he "strongly considered" New York before making his announcement.
"I mean, every team was under consideration but obviously New York held a special place for me," Irving said "Just being from (New) Jersey and obviously envisioning myself as a free agent and ultimately taking a meeting and playing for (Knicks head coach David Fizdale) and a great young core that they have here. Thinking about playing with (Kristaps Porzingis). That was a big thing before I made my decision just to ... plan on re-signing back with Boston. But yeah of course New York was a strong consideration."
"Plan on re-signing" is the key here.
Raptors SF Kawhi Leonard
The Raptors sparked a trade with the Spurs this offseason to land the two-time All-Star and Defensive Player of the Year without knowing if he would sign long-term. They better hope he does because teams like the Knicks will definitely be going after him.
Leonard is arguably the NBA's best all-around player, and the Knicks need an everyday small forward as Lance Thomas and Damyean Dotson as doing the job for now.
The 27-year-old would be a perfect fit for the New York media as well, given his stoic nature. Leonard doesn't let anything get under his skin, and that's the type of player New York calls for.
Hornets PG Kemba Walker
The Hornets may want to trade Walker to get something in return, but the Knicks have stated they won't be biting on any deals at the moments. So, if Charlotte fails to make a deal, expect Walker to be on the Knicks radar.
At 28, he has proven to not only lead an offense, but can step up in crunch time. Walker has ice in his veins when it comes to the last shot, and that's an aspect of his game that stems back to his time at UConn.
In fact, Walker's best college moment is arguably his stepback buzzer beater to beat Pitt in the Big East quarterfinal at MSG.
Like Irving, "Cardiac Kemba" would solve the debate over who the Knicks start at point guard in the future.