© Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
While NBA free agency isn’t set to kick off for another five months, it comes as surprise to no one that the chess match amongst NBA GM’s to clear cap space for this year’s free agent class has already begun. This year’s group of free agents is one of the most star-studded of all-time, with Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, and Kawhi Leonard headlining, and the opportunity for some teams to sign one, or two, of these players will be too good to pass up.
The trade deadline is six days away, and so far, the major move of note has been the New York Knicks’ trade on Thursday, sending Kristaps Porzingis, Courtney Lee, and Tim Hardaway Jr. to Dallas for Wesley Matthews, DeAndre Jordan, and Dennis Smith Jr.
For basketball fans in the Bay, this trade seems benign on face value, but the way the Knicks moved, and will continue to move, their money is definitely something to keep an eye out for. Going into Thursday, the Knicks had zero flexibility to take on a max deal, and after trading Porzingis and Hardaway Jr., they now have two.
On Friday, Howard Beck of Bleacher Report wrote a piece where he reported that the possible acquisition of Kevin Durant by the Knicks is more likely than many may realize.
“‘The only reason you can justify doing (the trade with Dallas) is if you have some level of certainty in your own mind that you’re getting KD and Kyrie, or KD and whatever,’ a rival executive said. Others were more blunt. ‘It means they’re pretty sure they’re getting KD,’ said a rival exec who believes the Knicks have already been told Durant is coming.'”
While this is all speculation at this point, it is worth noting that Durant’s upcoming free agency decision has created uncomfortable situations not only for himself, but for the rest of the team, highlighted by he and Draymond Green’s reported locker-room fight.
We are many months away from any decisions being made and a lot will happen from now until then. For the Warriors, however, when the final buzzer rings, the season will be over, and the games will just be getting started.