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Can The Knicks Really Sign Kevin Durant? No, But They Have Other Options

Carmelo Anthony and Kevin Durant (GEOFF BURKE/USA TODAY SPORTS)

Carmelo Anthony and Kevin Durant (GEOFF BURKE/USA TODAY SPORTS)


Last week the New York Knicks pulled off one of the biggest heists in NBA history by trading for former MVP Derrick Rose from the Chicago Bulls. It is a heist because the Knicks only gave up an average center in Robin Lopez, point guard Jerian Grant who has a lot of potential and point guard corpse Jose Calderon who should be allowed nowhere near a basketball court ever again. While Rose has been hampered by numerous injuries in the last few seasons, the Knicks get a guard that they desperately needed in his contract year. That move now sets up the rest of the Knicks offseason and two big questions are lingering with NBA Free Agency beginning on Friday. Let’s start with the prize of free agency:

Can The Knicks Really Sign Kevin Durant?

According to some, the Knicks may have a decent shot of signing another former MVP in Durant. Cooler heads are starting to prevail as the Knicks are not even on his list of teams to meet with when free agency begins but the acquisition of Rose has everyone in Knickland believing that this could be the beginning of something big at The Garden. What may help the team’s chances is the fact that Carmelo Anthony is playing with Durant in this summer’s Olympic Games in Rio so there will be ample opportunity for Anthony to discuss the virtues of having an owner who loves blues music and that sees to be it.

“We’ve been together. We’ve been talking,” Anthony said. “I do consider myself part of the Knicks so that meeting has already taken place.”

The question remains whether the Knicks can even get a chance to meet with Durant. Even with a meeting, the Knicks have no shot of signing him so they may be better suited to spend the $30 million in cap room they have and look at other players. That leads to the other question for the Knicks.

Who Can The Knicks Sign This Off-Season?

With $30 million in cap space, the Knicks have the money to sign some pieces but the major stars are not coming to New York this offseason. It will do the Knicks good to look at other players who can help the team for the time being until next offseason when the salary cap goes up even more and their odds of signing a major free agent increases. Here are three players the Knicks should target:

Jeremy Lin, Point Guard: 2015-16 Stats, 11.7 PPG, 3 AST, 3.6 REB

Joakim Noah, Center: 2015-16 Stats, 4.3 PPG, 8.8 REB, 3.8 AST

Evan Turner, Guard/Forward: 2015-16 Stats, 10.5 PPG, 4.9 AST, 4.4 REB

At first glance those names do not scream championship but with a deeper look, you will begin to see the point. After trading Lopez in the Rose deal, the Knicks desperately need a center and Noah should not cost an astronomical price (unless you’re Washington and you’re just throwing money at him for no reason). Getting Rose could be a sweetener for Noah to come in on a reduced salary and it gives the Knicks that inside man they need to improve inside, especially with their middle of the road offensive rebounding. I know the franchise is high on him but it is pretty apparent at this point in time that Willy Hernangomez is not the answer in the middle for the Knicks.

Jeremy Lin gives you a boost off the bench and someone that is an insurance policy on the off-chance that Rose gets hurt again. In Jeff Hornacek’s offense, like in Mike D’Antoni’s offense, the tempo is quick and the goal is to score quickly. Lin thrives in an offense like that and that is why he could be a fit to the Knicks. You could even play Lin and Rose at the same time in a smaller lineup to increase the speed and run teams out of arenas around the league.

To round out the three players mentioned, Turner is a combo player who could ball-handle and rebound and could be an asset for the Knicks off the bench as well. Turner’s shooting is not completely there but with Lin and possibly Langston Galloway coming off the bench, Turner won’t be expected to knock down threes every game. But he will bring versatility, something that the Knicks did not have much of last season and in season’s past.

These names are not names that will lead the New York Knicks to the NBA Finals competing for a title in the 2016-2017 season. What these names could do is make the Knicks a better team with players that can run Hornacek’s system correctly and efficiently. The Knicks are not going to get big names like Durant, Mike Conley or even restricted free agents like the Lakers’ Jordan Clarkson (who will have any offer matched by Los Angeles). Make the moves that you can make and don’t waste time with moves you can’t make. Those 32 wins from this past season may actually improve in the coming season.

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Kahlil Thomas

Kahlil is the College Sports Editor for as well as a columnist, hosting the Bump 'N Run column once per week. He also co-hosts a weekly basketball podcast, The Box Out, every Thursday evening with fellow writer Jason Cordner.
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