Oklahoma City forward Kevin Durant was "shocked" to hear about the firing of Knicks head coach Derek Fisher this week, according to Marc Berman of the NY Post.
Durant, who can become a free agent this summer, is likely to be on the Knicks radar as they look to attract the seven-time All-Star to New York.
Fisher was a former teammate of Durant's in Oklahoma City and the two have remained close friends.
"I thought he was doing a great job. Melo missed [seven] games. It's tough losing your best player. I thought he was doing a great job, man," Durant said. "This league, it don't matter what your record is nowadays. You still get fired. I don't know who's doing it deep in the organization internally. Record doesn't matter anymore if you're a coach. Fish did a great job. It's tough to turn an organization around in a year-and-a-half. He did the best he could do. I'm sure he walked out with a lot of peace.''
Durant made headlines earlier this season when he dubbed Knicks rookie Kristaps Porzingis as a unicorn, for his rare combination of size and skill-set.
The Knicks are hoping on top of the attraction of playing alongside Porzingis, Durant's father, who is said to be a Knicks fan, can help sway him to New York.
"Yeah, he's a big Knicks fan,'' he said.
The Knicks still have three former Oklahoma City assistant coaches on their staff. Thought their future in New York remains unknown with the departure of Fisher.
Given how played up Durant's relationship with Fisher had been while his former teammate was coaching the Knicks, it's no surprise to see him support Fisher in wake of his recent ousting.
Much of this, of course, can be attributed to Durant just wanting to defend a friend, but to praise the job he did with New York so highly is a little excessive. Like Fisher, Durant too understands the business and the nature of the beast that is the game of basketball. Fisher failed to show signs of progression, and therefore deserved to go.
It remains to be seen just how much of a chance the Knicks have at landing Durant (or if he'll even entertain such interest), but firing a severely struggling coach should not be something that negatively plays into his decision. If anything, this should prove that New York is not content with a poor status quo. The team wants to compete, and changing things up at this point is a move in a positive direction.