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Woj: Knicks, Dolan Not Offering Max Deal to Kevin Durant Wasn't Deciding Factor

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistJuly 1, 2019

TORONTO, CANADA - JUNE 10: Kevin Durant #35 of the Golden State Warriors arrives before Game Five of the NBA Finals against the Toronto Raptors on June 10, 2019 at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. 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. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2019 NBAE (Photo by Carlos Osorio/NBAE via Getty Images)
NBA Photo Library/Getty Images

New York Knicks owner James Dolan may not have been comfortable giving Kevin Durant a max contract as he recovers from an Achilles rupture.

That said, Dolan was also never given the chance.

ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski said on Monday's Get Up! that Durant never seriously considered signing with the Knicks, regardless of what their offer would have been.

"The front office, they wanted Kevin Durant. They wanted to be able to make [a max] offer," Wojnarowski said. "They didn't get there because Durant...they didn't even get a meeting with him. The process went very quickly. Yesterday, the day before.

"In the end, for the Knicks, they didn't have enough to even really get to sit at the table with Kevin Durant—especially with the fact Kyrie Irving wanted to go to Brooklyn. The idea of KD going in alone in New York, that didn't make much sense. Maybe if Kyrie felt stronger about New York, maybe that's something that would've been a different consideration. But they never even got to the point of making an offer to Kevin Durant because it was clear he wasn't ready to negotiate with them."

Get Up @GetUpESPN

.@wojespn clarifies the report about the Knicks not being prepared to offer Durant a max contract because of injury concerns. https://t.co/W6dpOCgPJj

Wojnarowski also noted that members of the Knicks front office wanted to offer Durant a max contract and would have pressed Dolan if they felt they had a chance of landing him. Dolan, the oft-maligned Knicks owner, was reportedly wary signing Durant to a full max deal due to concerns over his long-term health. 

While the history of players with Achilles tears is riddled with guys who came back at less than full strength, neither the Nets nor the Golden State Warriors were worried about handing Durant the max. It's also worth noting that Durant took less than the max to give the Nets room to sign DeAndre Jordan, per Wojnarowski, so this was clearly not a wholly financial decision.

The Knicks have been one of the NBA's most downtrodden franchises since Dolan took over control in 1999. They made the playoffs just six times since the turn of the century and have gotten out of the first round twice in the last 20 seasons. The 2018-19 campaign was their sixth straight time missing the playoffs, and the Knicks will enter next season favored to miss out for a seventh straight year.

Brooklyn, by contrast, has rebuilt its organization under the stewardship of Sean Marks after the Kevin Garnett-Paul Pierce trade of 2013 stripped the team bare of its assets. Durant and Irving's signings are a completion of Marks' vision and a clear condemnation of the Knicks, who also had two max slots available. 

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