While the New York Knicks got the cold shoulder from the likes of free agents Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, the roles were reversed, in a way, in regard to perhaps the biggest piece in free agency, Kawhi Leonard.
Due to circumstances, the Knicks reportedly declined a meeting the two sides had in place for Wednesday. The New York Post reports that the Knicks' front office decided to decline the meeting in the end because the team did not want to wait until the third day full day of free agency to chat.
Instead, the Knicks decided to shell out most of their cap space on multiple players early in free agency and were worried about potentially missing out on targets had they waited for the Raptors' star in 2018. Leonard, 28, opted to meet with the Lakers and Clippers before the Knicks in the opening hours of free agency.
Per the report, the Knicks' helm, including Steve Mills, Scott Perry and David Fizdale, realized without Durant, landing Leonard was unlikely. As of Wednesday evening, reports indicated that Leonard was heading back to Toronto to meet with his most recent team's front office about a potentially returning.
The Knicks' eventual free agent haul was highlighted by the likes of Julius Randle, Bobby Portis and Taj Gibson. Of New York's six free agent signees, only Randle's deal included more than one season guaranteed. The Knicks still have nearly $4 million of cap space plus a $4.7 million room exception available, but the expectation is that Lance Thomas will fill that spot, as SNY's Ian Begley previously reported.