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Sorry, Carmelo: Kevin Durant Isn’t Going to Pick the Knicks

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Getty Images

Here are some facts:

  1. Kevin Durant is a free agent this summer.
  2. The Knicks, like every team in basketball, would love to have Durant on their roster.
  3. Durant is friends with Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony.
  4. Durant and Anthony have spent the past few days together in New York for a USA Basketball event.
  5. Durant is signed to Jay Z’s Roc Nation Sports, which may or may not have close ties to the Illuminati, which may or may not be a secret Knicks fan club.

Naturally, all this has triggered speculation that Durant might be interested in joining the Knicks next month. Never mind that Phil Jackson has yet to schedule a meeting with him — Melo is already in full-on recruiting mode.

“I’m with KD now; he’s right downstairs,” Anthony told ESPN on Monday. “We’ve been together. We’ve been talking.”

OK — but what exactly have they been talking about?

“You know, for me, it’s more just about … giving him the real,” Anthony revealed.

This should come as welcome news to the Thunder, because if Melo is truly giving Durant “the real,” KD will stay the hell out of New York. Jackson is steadfastly committed to an outdated offense, James Dolan is the NBA’s most incompetent owner since Ted Stepien, and Jeff Hornacek is the franchise’s fifth coach in six seasons.

Moreover, it’s less important than ever for a superstar to play in a big market. Durant’s brand is doing just fine in Oklahoma City, and the Knicks haven’t exactly been a hotbed for free agents of late. Since inking Amar’e Stoudemire to a regrettable max deal in 2010, New York’s highest-profile signing has probably been Robin Lopez, who isn’t even the best player in his own family.

Compare this to what Durant already has in OKC and it becomes clear that signing with the Knicks would be akin to committing basketball suicide. Russell Westbrook is a top-three point guard, Steven Adams has developed into a matchup nightmare, and Billy Donovan has quickly established himself as one of the league’s top coaches. Sure, the Thunder haven’t won a title yet, but they took the 73-win Warriors to the brink of elimination and just scored a major influx of young talent from the Serge Ibaka trade. And who knows how many rings Durant would have if Sam Presti never sent James Harden to Houston?

Even if Durant has his heart set on leaving Oklahoma City, there are numerous teams with more to offer than the Knicks. The Warriors and Spurs would provide the closest thing to a championship guarantee, while the Heat have a superior version of Jackson in Pat Riley (plus warm weather). Meanwhile, the Clippers may be dysfunctional, but at least they win (well, in the regular season, at least).

Aside from free tickets to JD & The Straight Shot shows, the Knicks don’t have much to offer that these teams can’t one-up. Of course, if Melo realized this, he might not be mired in the Big Apple in the first place. But he’s made no secret about prioritizing his short-term financial interests over winning basketball games, even though on-court success is crucial to marketability (don’t tell La La!). Durant would be wise to learn from him, but he definitely shouldn’t listen to him.