Ian Begley, SNY.tv | Twitter |
As the start of free agency approaches, we know that the Knicks expect to get an audience with free agent Kevin Durant. We know that the Knicks feel as if they are in the running for Durant. ESPN has reported that Durant is expected to communicate with the Nets, Clippers and Warriors as well the Knicks.
The Warriors can offer Durant a five-year, $221 million deal. The Knicks, Nets and Clippers can offer Durant max deals of $164 million over four years.
That $57 million gap is significant, particularly because Durant is expected to miss the season, per ESPN, while rehabbing his Achilles injury.
It's a lot of guaranteed money to leave on the table. So it's somewhat noteworthy that part of the Knicks' discussions with Durant, per sources, will be centered around opportunities to make money outside the parameters of his NBA contract.
Of course, the idea that the Knicks will talk to Durant about off-court opportunities to make money is not exactly breaking news -- every team talking to a star free agent would pitch the off-court revenue opportunities that its market offers.
It's fair to assume the Knicks discuss off-court revenue opportunities in New York with all potential free agents.
The specifics of the Knicks' discussion points with Durant about opportunities to make additional money are unclear. Obviously, there are significant marketing/branding/media opportunities in New York, the country's largest market. Among other off-court ventures, Durant is the founder of his own media company.
The other teams pursuing Durant will have their own off-court revenue opportunities to pitch Durant on.
The Nets share the same market as the Knicks and their owner is Joe Tsai. When Tsai takes over controlling ownership of the club, he will be the only Chinese majority owner in the league. Tsai, the co-founder of Alibaba, could help players pursue marketing opportunities in an overseas market with a sizeable NBA fan base. The Nets reportedly will also pitch Durant on their performance/medical staff.
The Clippers clearly can talk to Durant about opportunities to make off-court money in Los Angeles. The Warriors are in one of the largest tech markets in the world. So, again, it's logical to assume all teams in pursuit of Durant will talk to him about off-court money-making opportunities.
What else will the Knicks talk to Durant about in their pitch? That's unknown. But based on public comments from the Knicks' front office, it's logical to assume they will talk to Durant about their opportunity to add more talent with additional cap space, the potential of some of their young players and the idea that they are committed to building out the roster in ways that avoid the 'quick fix' approach in year's past.
One could argue that spending max money on an injured Durant is yet another 'quick fix' approach by the Knicks. But given other teams' willingness to offer Durant max money, it's fair to see this pursuit as different from the type of 'quick fix' moves the club has made in the past.
What else might the Knicks' pitch to Durant include? There was a report during the season from The Athletic that stated there was a belief among rival teams that Durant's manager/business partner, Rich Kleiman, would be offered a front office position by the Knicks. The veracity of the report is unknown, but such a move would likely raise a red flag with teams in pursuit of Durant if he ended up on the Knicks.