Rookie Allonzo Trier has been a bright spot for the Knicks this season but his biggest impact may come in the offseason.
According to Marc Berman of the New York Post, Trier and pending free agent Kevin Durant have a "close" relationship that stems back to when the 22-year-old guard was playing high school ball in Oklahoma City.
Durant, then with the Thunder, served as a mentor to Trier and attended several of his high school games.
"We became close, yes," Trier told The Post. "Yeah, he's seen plenty [of my games]. I was one of the top-ranked players in the country out of high school. Just a guy being a genuine person, wanted to look out for me, wanted to get to know me and build a relationship with me. Ever since then our bond has grown and [he] became my brother."
The Knicks signed Trier as an undrafted free agent to a two-way G-League contract but his impressive play resulted in a conversion to a two-year, $6.8 million NBA deal that was completed on Thursday.
The contract eats into the cap room the Knicks have to make a play for Durant next summer, but if they can figure out a way to create more room, the bond between the veteran All-Star and rookie guard should not be discounted.
The two have been in contact with each other this season as Durant has been among those who have noticed the impact Trier is making on the court.
"Yeah, he told me you're in a blessed position," Trier said. "He told me soon you'll be secure and you'll be taken care. Just continue to work hard. He already knows I love the game and how much I dedicate to it. He said enjoy this now. You're going to play a really long time in this league. So just continue to stay even-keeled, take the ups, take the downs and continue to just be yourself and that will take care of it, especially when you love the game."
Trier is averaging 11.3 points on 47 percent shooting over 23.2 minutes per game this season. He is seventh among rookies in scoring and third in three-point percentage.
"He can handle the ball, get you in the offense and can guard both guard positions," Knicks head coach David Fizdale said. "He's a natural scorer. It didn't take long to figure that out."