With reports swirling that Spurs F Kawhi Leonard wants to play elsewhere next season, the fit with the Knicks sounds enticing.
For one, the Knicks were interested in going after Leonard when he becomes a free agent in 2019, per The Post's Marc Berman. However, now that Leonard wants to leave San Antonio a season early, they may not be the right fit because of one reason: Kristaps Porzingis.
To acquire a player with Leonard's caliber, an even return would need to be in place for the Spurs. That means Porzingis would likely be mentioned in any deal if the Knicks wished to be a contender for Leonard.
Also, Leonard is to make about $21 million next season, and with cap space tight right now, the Knicks would need a big salary to be included in the deal to make room financially. Berman suggest Courtney Lee, who will make about $12.7 million next season. He had a great season among the Knicks' struggles last year, and the Spurs could use him as depth among their versatile guards.
It is also known that Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich likes the Knicks' 2017 first rounder PG Frank Ntilikina.
"I think he looked solid," Popovich said after watching him play against his idol Tony Parker this past year. "I thought he looked confident. He didn't look fearful. He wasn't overly impressed being in the NBA. He played. He seemed like a pretty comfortable guy on the court. I'm sure the Knicks did their homework on his insides."
And finally, the Knicks could throw in their No. 9 overall pick in this year's NBA Draft that is set to take place next Thursday.
But would it be worth going after Leonard if the payout includes someone like Porzingis. It likely wouldn't happen if Porzingis is the make-or-break part of the deal. Though he is coming off a torn ACL, Leonard has his own injury concerns as he's been dealing with knee and quad issues for the past two season.
There is also the fact that the Knicks could fill the void at small forward in the draft with that first-round pick. And after this season, New York is expected to have some money on their side as the free-agent pool opens. Celtics star PG Kyrie Irving has made it known he won't sign an extension with Boston before he hits free agency after next season. When he requested a trade from the Cavs, the Knicks was a preferred landing spot.
So, though getting a two-time Defensive Player of the year and MVP candiate with championship pedigree sounds exciting, the payout for Leonard is too high for GM Scott Perry and team president Steve Mills to sign off on.