The New York Knicks were not prepared to offer Kevin Durant the four-year, $164 million contract he eventually committed to with the Brooklyn Nets because of concerns about his recovery from his Achilles injury, league sources told ESPN.
Coming off such a catastrophic injury, Durant was interested in only maximum contract offers. With New York unwilling to take that risk, the Knicks front office instead flew to Los Angeles to meet with and secure a commitment from Julius Randle on a three-year, $63 million deal, CAA agents Aaron Mintz and Steve Heumann told ESPN on Sunday.
Durant had long been a focus for the Knicks, who made several trades this year to secure the requisite salary-cap space to sign him and another superstar. However, their thinking changed after Durant's injury, which is likely to keep him out all of next season.
The parties never discussed financial terms of a possible deal, but Durant wouldn't have considered an offer below the full max, which Brooklyn, the Golden State Warriors and the LA Clippers offered, league sources said.
Knicks president Steve Mills addressed fans in the aftermath of Durant's commitment to the Nets in a statement released Sunday night.
"While we understand that some Knicks fans could be disappointed with tonight's news, we continue to be upbeat and confident in our plans to rebuild the Knicks to compete for championships in the future, through both the draft and targeted free agents," Mills wrote.
The Knicks later amended the statement to also include compete for titles by "continuing to build around our core of young players"
New York followed up the Randle agreement by striking a two-year, $31 million deal with forward Bobby Portis and a two-year, $20 million deal with 10-year veteran Taj Gibson, agent Mark Bartelstein told ESPN.