Knicks Rumors: Latest Updates on Kevin Durant, DeMarcus Cousins and More

David KenyonFeatured ColumnistJune 27, 2019

PHILADELPHIA, PA - MARCH 02: Kevin Durant #35 and DeMarcus Cousins #0 of the Golden State Warriors react against the Philadelphia 76ers at the Wells Fargo Center on March 2, 2019 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Warriors defeated the 76ers 120-117. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

At this point of the offseason, perhaps it would be easier to list the free agents who haven't been connected to the New York Knicks.

The well-publicized pursuits of Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard and Kyrie Irving continue to feature the Knicks on the rumor mill, but they're linked with several lower-tier players, too.

Most recently, reports have indicated New York's interest in DeMarcus Cousins, Terry Rozier and Julius Randle, among others.

While we caution Knicks fans to exercise restraint, there's no question New York intends to be aggressive in free agency this summer.


Playing Catch-Up in Superstar Chases

The Knicks are swinging for the proverbial fences.

Shams Charania of The Athletic reaffirmed New York is targeting Durant, Leonard and Irving. Also of the site, Frank Isola noted the Knicks expect to have a meeting with Durant and Leonard. Brad Townsend of the Dallas Morning News mentioned Kemba Walker, too.

That is one star-studded list for New York, which has enough cap space to land two max-contract players. But money is only part of the story; does the embattled organization have enough appeal?

Golden State Warriors veteran Andre Iguodala recently said he believes nobody is headed to the Knicks.

TheWarriorsTalk @TheWarriorsTalk

Andre Iguodala told CNBC he thinks Klay Thompson and Kevin Durant will return to the Warriors. He also added “nobody’s going to the Knicks sorry” https://t.co/jYXex8MR9F

Maybe that's a joke, but New York whiffing wouldn't be surprising.

Durant may re-sign with the Warriors or join the Brooklyn Nets. Most indications are Leonard favors the Toronto Raptors and either of the Los Angeles clubs. The Nets are the front-runner to snatch Irving. Walker is more likely staying with the Charlotte Hornets or choosing the Boston Celtics or Dallas Mavericks.

Despite the hype, numerous salary-shedding trades and all the other details, the Knicks are in danger of striking out.

At least they're going down swinging?


Early Backup Plans

Since an 0-of-4 finish involving the above players is realistic, New York's front office must be prepared to quickly shift to the next tier of free agents and not wallow in its devastation.

But the options are relatively underwhelming.

Marc Stein of The New York Times shared the Knicks are deciding whether to pursue a different member of the Golden State Warriors.

Marc Stein @TheSteinLine

The Knicks are weighing the prospect of extending a considerable one-year offer to Warriors free-agent big man DeMarcus Cousins if they miss out on top target Kevin Durant, league sources say

Cousins averaged 16.3 points and 8.2 rebounds during what was effectively a rehab season with Golden State. He only played 30 regular-season games after recovering from an Achilles tear and missed much of the playoffs because of a thigh injury.

Charania reported New York is also considered a potential suitor for Boston Celtics restricted free agent Terry Rozier. Both players will produce, but how much closer do they actually get the Knicks to the postseasonlet alone anything more?

One logical target is Julius Randle, who declined his player option with the New Orleans Pelicans. Charania cited mutual interest, and Randle would be a valuable scorer for the frontcourt.

Still, that's a long way from Durant or Leonard.

If the Knicks don't land a superstar, they'll need to add Randle-type players. But the front office cannot afford to offer long-term contracts that ultimately prevent the franchise from taking another big swing in free agency next summer.

July could be a delicate, frustrating balancing act for New York.


Follow Bleacher Report writer David Kenyon on Twitter @Kenyon19_BR.