The Knicks must have reason to believe Kevin Durant is coming to New York.

That's the only conclusion to draw from Thursday's shocking trade of Kristaps Porzingis to the Dallas Mavericks.

After Porzingis and his brother, Janis, who is also his agent, met with the front office and expressed frustration with the direction of the franchise, the Knicks quickly sent him to Dallas along with some long-term contracts for a package headlined by second-year guard Dennis Smith, Jr. and two future first-round picks.

Smith was known to be unhappy with his role in Dallas, playing second fiddle to rookie phenom Luka Doncic. Dallas made this move to contend as soon as next year, which means those picks may not even be in the lottery if all goes according to their plan.

Even with his value at an all-time low, this is a disappointing package for Porzingis. The success of this trade depends entirely on their ability to sign a superstar in free agency, which has historically been a dicey proposition for the Knicks.

By swapping out Tim Hardaway, Jr. and Courtney Lee for the expiring contracts of Wesley Matthews and DeAndre Jordan, the Knicks opened up an extra $26.4 million in cap space this summer. They could be looking at as much as $75 million in room, easily enough to sign two superstars to max contracts.

That's been one of the Knicks' two primary goals this season, along with losing enough games to position themselves to draft Zion Williamson in June. With Durant, Kawhi Leonard, Klay Thompson, DeMarcus Cousins, Kyrie Irving and Jimmy Butler potentially in play this summer, the Knicks have wanted to clear out enough space to go big-game hunting.

New York went similarly all-out on free agency in 2010, making strategic moves over several seasons to clear room to make a run at LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. They struck out on the A-listers that summer, signing Amar'e Stoudemire to a huge contract when the three headliners instead teamed up in Miami.

The difference is that leading up to 2010, the Knicks didn't have to give up the face of their franchise to clear all this money. Not that they had a player as good as Porzingis during those dark years, but their cap-clearing moves were mostly inconsequential salary swaps involving the likes of Jared Jeffries and Tracy McGrady.

If the Knicks get Durant in July, as they hope to, cutting ties with Porzingis now will have been worth it. They still have their own draft pick and currently own the worst record in the NBA at 10-40. If they win the lottery and land Williamson with the No. 1 pick and lure Durant and another star to New York, they become instant contenders in the Eastern Conference.



But if Durant doesn't come, it's unlikely they'll be able to do enough with their cap space to become a contender. They were never able to come a superpower after signing Stoudemire in 2010, and giving up a lot in the following trade deadline for Carmelo Anthony.

Missing out on the Durant-Irving tier of free agents could send them into panic mode, and lead to an overpay of a second-tier name like Tobias Harris or Khris Middleton -- good players who aren't first options on title teams, but may get paid like they are.

The Knicks were in a tough spot shopping Porzingis, the most exciting prospect they've drafted since Patrick Ewing. In ideal circumstances, they would have been able to command a big package of young players and picks. Not what the Pelicans will be able to get for Anthony Davis, but certainly more than what they got from Dallas.

But they had two things working against them: Porzingis' health and his contract status.

It's been almost exactly a year since Porzingis suffered a torn left ACL, and it still remains to be seen when or if he'll play this season. In late December, the Knicks announced he would be re-evaluated in "late February." In a rebuilding year, they were in no rush to put him back on the floor. But this also made it a tough sell for another team to give up blue-chip prospects or draft picks for him without knowing how he'll look coming off a serious knee injury.

Porzingis will also be a restricted free agent this summer, and any team trading for him will have to pay him huge money. Already, there's conflicting information on his intentions in Dallas: The Athletic's Shams Charania reported that Porzingis plans to sign the one-year qualifying offer this summer, making him an unrestricted free agent after the 2019-20 season. Then, ESPN.com's Adrian Wojnarowski reported that he hasn't made that decision yet.

Porzingis could sign a five-year deal with Dallas for upwards of $150 million, or a four-year offer sheet with another team for over $100 million that Mark Cuban could match. That's a lot of money to commit to someone with Porzingis' injury, potentially without seeing him play beforehand.

With those mitigating circumstances, Steve Mills and Scott Perry were never going to get 100 cents on the dollar for Porzingis. But Smith and two nebulous future first-round picks feels like selling low.

If the Knicks get a superstar or two this summer with all the cap space they opened up on Thursday, they'll be vindicated. If they don't, they may have just set the organization back another half-decade.

Tags: Courtney Lee, Frank Ntilikina, Kristaps Porzingis, Tim Hardaway Jr.
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Impact of Davis trade on Knicks 00:01:06
New York Knicks saw another domino fall with Anthony Davis heading to the Lakers. SNY's Ian Begley discusses the implications it will have.

Any designs the Knicks might have had of forming a superteam with Anthony Davis were destroyed Saturday evening with the news that the Pelicans were dealing the star to the Lakers for Lonzo BallBrandon IngramJosh Hart and three first-round picks, including this year's No. 4 overall pick.

So where do the Knicks go from here?

As SNY's Ian Begley has reported, the Knicks plan to aggressively pursue Kawhi Leonard, who just led the Raptors to their first-ever NBA championship and was named NBA Finals MVP. 

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Mar 4, 2019; Salt Lake City, UT, USA; New Orleans Pelicans forward Anthony Davis (23) dribbles the ball during the first half against the Utah Jazz at Vivint Smart Home Arena. Mandatory Credit: Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports (Russell Isabella)
Mar 4, 2019; Salt Lake City, UT, USA; New Orleans Pelicans forward Anthony Davis (23) dribbles the ball during the first half against the Utah Jazz at Vivint Smart Home Arena. Mandatory Credit: Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports (Russell Isabella)

The Knicks will have to move ahead without Anthony Davis

The Pelicans have agreed to trade the superstar to the Lakers for a monster haul which includes Lonzo BallBrandon IngramJosh Hart and three first-round picks, including the No. 4 overall pick in this year's NBA Draft, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski

SNY's Ian Begley previously reported that the Knicks had at least one conversation with the Pelicans about a potential Davis trade.

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Top 5: Best Knicks Lottery Picks 00:01:02
The New York Knicks have had 11 lottery picks since it began in 1985. See who we believe are the 5 best selections the Knicks have made.

The Knicks hold the No. 3 pick in the NBA Draft. Will their selection become of one the best lottery picks in team history?

Here's a look at SNY's Top 5 Knicks lottery picks, since its inception in 1985.

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Top 5: Worst #3 NBA draft picks 00:00:57
The New York Knicks are hoping RJ Barrett, if taken at #3, develops into a better player than these other #3 overall picks

The Knicks hold the No. 3 pick in the NBA Draft. All eyes are on R.J. Barrett, but the Knicks are hoping to avoid making this list with whichever player they take.

Here's a look at SNY's 5 Worst No. 3 picks of the Draft Lottery era (since 1985.) 

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Nov 4, 2018; Washington, DC, USA; New York Knicks guard Allonzo Trier (14) dribbles past Washington Wizards guard Austin Rivers (1) during the first half at Capital One Arena. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Mills)
Nov 4, 2018; Washington, DC, USA; New York Knicks guard Allonzo Trier (14) dribbles past Washington Wizards guard Austin Rivers (1) during the first half at Capital One Arena. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Mills)

Ian Begley, SNY.tv Twitter |

The Knicks have decided to pick up the $3.5 million option on Allonzo Trier's contract, SNY sources confirm. Trier, an undrafted guard out of Arizona, signed a two-way contract with New York after the 2019 draft which was converted to a traditional contract after his strong play as a rookie. 

New York still has ways to create enough cap space for two max free agents with the addition of Trier's $3.5 million for next season. 

The club plans to pursue max free agents, including Kevin Durant and Kawhi Leonard, this offseason. 

Tags: Allonzo Trier
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Mar 15, 2019; San Antonio, TX, USA; New York Knicks small forward Lance Thomas (42) dunks over San Antonio Spurs center Jakob Poeltl (right) during the first half at AT&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports (Soobum Im)
Mar 15, 2019; San Antonio, TX, USA; New York Knicks small forward Lance Thomas (42) dunks over San Antonio Spurs center Jakob Poeltl (right) during the first half at AT&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports (Soobum Im)

The Knicks have until June 30 to decide whether they want to guarantee $1 million of veteran Lance Thomas' $7.6 million salary for the 2019-20 season.

The team's plan as of now is to waive Thomas before that deadline, sources tell SNY's Ian Begley.

Despite that plan, sources tell Begley that the Knicks have interest in bringing Thomas back as a free agent. The team values Thomas' leadership, professionalism and the way he has mentored the franchise's younger players.

Tags: Lance Thomas
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New York Knicks head coach David Fizdale smiles during a news conference, Tuesday, May 8, 2018, in New York. The Knicks hired Fizdale after agreeing to terms with the former Memphis Grizzlies coach last week. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer) (Mary Altaffer/AP)
New York Knicks head coach David Fizdale smiles during a news conference, Tuesday, May 8, 2018, in New York. The Knicks hired Fizdale after agreeing to terms with the former Memphis Grizzlies coach last week. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer) (Mary Altaffer/AP)

Now that the Toronto Raptors have been crowned the 2019 NBA Finals champions after defeating the Golden State Warriors in six games, it is time to shift gears toward the 2019-20 season. Which means looking at the early odds for next year's champion. 

For the Knicks, they still have a long way to go, but that could change -- for better or worse -- after NBA free agency is over. 

Per the latest from Odds Shark, the Knicks are slated at 33-to-1 odds to win the NBA Finals next year. 

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Top 5: Best #3 NBA draft picks 00:01:02
The New York Knicks are hoping their selection in the NBA draft joins the ranks of these 5 players taken at #3 overall since the lottery.

The Knicks hold the No. 3 pick in the NBA Draft. Will their selection, perhaps RJ Barrett, become one of the best No. 3 picks ever?

Here's a look at SNY's Top 5 No. 3 picks of the Draft Lottery era (since 1985.) 

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Feb 17, 2019; Charlotte, NC, USA; Team Giannis guard Kemba Walker of the Charlotte Hornets (15) drives to the basket against Team Lebron guard Kyrie Irving of the Boston Celtics (11) during the 2019 NBA All-Star Game at Spectrum Center. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports (Bob Donnan)
Feb 17, 2019; Charlotte, NC, USA; Team Giannis guard Kemba Walker of the Charlotte Hornets (15) drives to the basket against Team Lebron guard Kyrie Irving of the Boston Celtics (11) during the 2019 NBA All-Star Game at Spectrum Center. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports (Bob Donnan)

With the Knicks owning two max free agent slots, it was always the dream of marrying Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving in blue and orange next season in The Garden. Even with Durant's Achilles injury, that still might be the case. 

However, Irving may cause a rift in those plans if he does indeed land in Brooklyn. 

SNY's Ian Begley has heard from sources that teams monitoring Irving's situation remain under the impression that, if he chooses to leave Boston, the Nets are currently at the top of his desired teams list. And The Athletic's Shams Charania noted Wednedsay that Irving will be opting out of his deal with Boston, as he gets set to hit the market. 

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Jun 10, 2019; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant (35) walks to the locker room during the second quarter against the Toronto Raptors in game five of the 2019 NBA Finals at Scotiabank Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports (Kyle Terada)
Jun 10, 2019; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant (35) walks to the locker room during the second quarter against the Toronto Raptors in game five of the 2019 NBA Finals at Scotiabank Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports (Kyle Terada)

Knicks free agent target Kevin Durant confirmed the worst fears on Wednesday, announcing that he had surgery for a ruptured Achilles. While recovery times vary, ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski is reporting that Durant is expected to miss the entire 2019-20 season.

While the injury is a big blow to Durant, it might not scare the Knicks off, with SNY's Ian Begley reporting that some in the organization would still consider signing KD despite the Achilles injury. 

After suffering the injury in Game 5 of the NBA Finals, Durant traveled to New York for evaluations and remained there for surgery.

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Barrett vs. Zion NBA potential 00:01:22
The New York Knicks lost out on Zion Williamson but some NBA scouts believe RJ Barrett could be the better NBA player.

Ian Begley, SNY.tv Twitter |

"I think these two guys have a legitimate argument as to who's the best guy coming out and who will be the best pro. I don't think, by any means, it's automatic that Zion will be a better pro than RJ."

The quote above was from Kevin Boyle, R.J. Barrett's high school coach at Montverde Academy. Having coached pros like Joel Embiid, Kyrie Irving, Ben Simmons and D'Angelo Russell, Boyle knows elite talent. But he also is partial to Barrett, the player the Knicks seem most likely to draft, for obvious reasons. So we asked neutral parties - scouts and talent evaluators - if they thought that Barrett could end up as a better pro player than Zion Williamson, his Duke teammate.

Here's what they said:

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Feb 14, 2019; Clarksville, TN, USA; Murray State Racers guard Ja Morant (12) shoots against the Austin Peay Governors during the first half at the Winfield Dunn Center. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports (Brian Spurlock)
Feb 14, 2019; Clarksville, TN, USA; Murray State Racers guard Ja Morant (12) shoots against the Austin Peay Governors during the first half at the Winfield Dunn Center. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports (Brian Spurlock)

Ian Begley, SNY.tv Twitter |

The Knicks have a pre-draft meeting scheduled with Murray State's Ja Morant, SNY sources confirm. 

New York has the No. 3 pick in the draft and has already worked out Duke's RJ Barrett and Texas Tech's Jarrett Culver in individual workouts. 

Morant is recovering from surgery, so he won't be working out for the club, but he will meet with members of the organization in New York, as ESPN first reported. The meeting is expected to take place on Friday, not on Thursday as was reported. 

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Jan 12, 2019; Orlando, FL, USA; Boston Celtics guard Kyrie Irving (11) dribbles the ball during the second half at Amway Center. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports (Kim Klement)
Jan 12, 2019; Orlando, FL, USA; Boston Celtics guard Kyrie Irving (11) dribbles the ball during the second half at Amway Center. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports (Kim Klement)

Celtics star Kyrie Irving can be a free agent after the season, and the idea that he could team up with fellow free agent Kevin Durant on the Knicks this summer has picked up steam since the Kristaps Porzingis trade cleared two max slots for New York. Here are the latest rumors...


June 12, 8:13 PM:

According to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, Irving has decided to part ways with agent Jeff Wechsler. He is expected to partner with Roc Nation, which, of course, was founded by New York native Jay-Z. Interestingly enough, though, Roc Nation's president Michael Yormark is the twin brother of Nets CEO Brett Yormark, and Caris LeVert is another Roc Nation client.

Reports circulated earlier in the day that Irving will opt out of his current contract with the Celtics. Now, just 18 days from when free agents can begin meeting with teams, Irving has changed his representation.

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Durant and Davis scenarios in NY 00:01:30
Ian Begley discusses what options the Knicks have now that Kevin Durant is hurt. Things are looking less promising for Anthony Davis in NY.

The trade winds have officially come in, as Anthony Davis news swirled around on Wednesday afternoon. Here's what we know so far:


Celtics and Lakers have touched base with Pelicans 

ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski broke the news first that the Celtics and Lakers have begun trade talks with the Pelicans for Davis. The Lakers have long been the favorite to land AD, while the Celtics seem desperate to land him in hopes of keeping PG Kyrie Irving in Boston. 

Pelicans EVP of player operations David Griffin is looking to make a three-team deal, and has reportedly laid down the framework to get a deal done. However, no reports have surfaced with which third team could be involved in a potential trade. 

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Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant sits on the court after an apparent injury during the second quarter in Game 5 against the Toronto Raptors of the 2019 NBA Finals at Scotiabank Arena. (Kyle Terada/USA TODAY Sports)
Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant sits on the court after an apparent injury during the second quarter in Game 5 against the Toronto Raptors of the 2019 NBA Finals at Scotiabank Arena. (Kyle Terada/USA TODAY Sports)

Knicks free agent target Kevin Durant suffered an Achilles injury during Game 5 of the NBA Finals, casting a shadow over his future. Here's the latest...


June 12, 3:59 PM:

Durant announced via Instagram that he had successful surgery for a ruptured Achilles, while providing a message. 

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Dec 9, 2018; Detroit, MI, USA; New Orleans Pelicans forward Anthony Davis (23) during the game against the Detroit Pistons at Little Caesars Arena. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports (Tim Fuller)
Dec 9, 2018; Detroit, MI, USA; New Orleans Pelicans forward Anthony Davis (23) during the game against the Detroit Pistons at Little Caesars Arena. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports (Tim Fuller)

Pelicans star Anthony Davis has requested a trade, informing the team he has no interest in re-signing. With news of Davis wanting out came reports that the Knicks have strong interest in trading for him. Here are the latest rumors...


June 12, 3:54 PM:

The Anthony Davis sweepstakes has already started, as ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski is hearing the Celtics and Lakers are already engaged in trade talks with the Pelicans.

Those two teams will likely be the Knicks' top competition for Davis' talents next season. Rich Paul, his agent, did mention that the Celtics would likely get him as a rental for one season.

Tags: Kristaps Porzingis, Danny Abriano
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May 6, 2019; Houston, TX, USA; Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant (35) reacts after a play during the third quarter against the Houston Rockets in game four of the second round of the 2019 NBA Playoffs at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports (Troy Taormina)
May 6, 2019; Houston, TX, USA; Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant (35) reacts after a play during the third quarter against the Houston Rockets in game four of the second round of the 2019 NBA Playoffs at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports (Troy Taormina)

Ian Begley, SNY.tv Twitter |

After Kevin Durant announced Wednesday afternoon that he ruptured his Achilles, the teams interested in Durant are probably asking themselves a question: Do we still pursue him in free agency?

If Durant declines his $31.5 million player option for next season, any team interested in signing him would have to be comfortable with him possibly being sidelined for the first year of his contract.

Would the Knicks, who have enough cap space to sign two max free agents, be comfortable with that scenario? We'll find out in a few weeks, but there are indeed some members of the organization who would consider offering Durant a contract this summer, per SNY sources. Durant is eligible for a four-year, $141 million max contract from New York or any other team looking to sign him away from the Warriors.

Tags: Allonzo Trier, Kevin Knox, Mitchell Robinson
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Jan 28, 2019; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant (35) reacts by pounding on his chest after making a play against the Indiana Pacers during the first quarter at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports (Brian Spurlock)
Jan 28, 2019; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant (35) reacts by pounding on his chest after making a play against the Indiana Pacers during the first quarter at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports (Brian Spurlock)

Warriors star Kevin Durant can be a free agent after the season, and the idea that he could join the Knicks this summer took a hit when he suffered an Achilles injury in Game 5 of the NBA Finals. Here's the latest...


June 12, 9:36 AM:

While many thought Durant opting in to the $31.5 million option with the Warriors for 2019-20 was likely in the wake of his Achilles injury, ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski said Wednesday that it would be the "last resort."

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Mar 1, 2019; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Charlotte Hornets guard Kemba Walker (15) puts up a shot against Brooklyn Nets forward DeMarre Carroll (9) in the second quarter at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Nicole Sweet-USA TODAY Sports (Nicole Sweet)
Mar 1, 2019; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Charlotte Hornets guard Kemba Walker (15) puts up a shot against Brooklyn Nets forward DeMarre Carroll (9) in the second quarter at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Nicole Sweet-USA TODAY Sports (Nicole Sweet)

As fears grow over whether or not the Knicks can sign Kevin Durant in free agency this summer, they could pursue Hornets guard Kemba Walker. 

According to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, the Knicks, Mavericks and Lakers are going to be very interested in Walker if the Hornets decide not to at least give him a fifth year in a super max contract worth $221 million. 

Wojnarowski notes that the Hornets could be shifting toward a rebuild if they decide against re-signing Walker. 

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Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant celebrates against the Houston Rockets during the second quarter in Game 2 of the second round of the 2019 NBA Playoffs at Oracle Arena. (Kyle Terada/USA TODAY Sports)
Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant celebrates against the Houston Rockets during the second quarter in Game 2 of the second round of the 2019 NBA Playoffs at Oracle Arena. (Kyle Terada/USA TODAY Sports)

Kevin Durant's Achilles injury has potentially thrown a huge wrench into his free agency and the Knicks' plans, but that hasn't strongly impacted the odds of him ending up with the Knicks  -- at least not yet.

According to Odds Shark, the Knicks still have the best odds.

The list:

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Durant injury impact on Knicks 00:02:04
SNY Insider Ian Begley explains impact of Warriors forward Kevin Durant's injury has on Knicks and their pursuit of Raptors Kawhi Leonard.

No matter who you root for or where your interests lie, if you're an NBA fan, you feel terribly for Kevin Durant today.

The two-time Finals MVP suffered an Achillies injury in Game 5 of the NBA Finals on Monday and ESPN reported that Golden State fears Durant's Achillies is torn.

Durant returned to the court for Monday's elimination game after missing nearly five weeks with a calf injury. He scored 11 points in his first 12 minutes on the floor, but went down early in the second quarter after an attempted drive, grabbing his calf. The 30-year-old suffered an injury that, depending on the severity, could have wide-ranging implications for the Knicks, Nets and the rest of the league.

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Ian Begley, SNY.tv Twitter |

Mid-range DeMar DeRozan. James Worthy in transition. Joe Ingles-like IQ.

Scouts invoked the names of these players and others when talking about potential pro player comparisons for presumptive No. 3 pick RJ Barrett.

Barrett worked out for New York on Monday and said he hopes the club drafts him. He's the most likely target for the Knicks, if they keep the pick.

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Recording artist Drake reacts with Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant after an apparent injury during the second quarter against the Toronto Raptors in Game 5 of the 2019 NBA Finals at Scotiabank Arena. (Kyle Terada/USA TODAY Sports)
Recording artist Drake reacts with Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant after an apparent injury during the second quarter against the Toronto Raptors in Game 5 of the 2019 NBA Finals at Scotiabank Arena. (Kyle Terada/USA TODAY Sports)

Kevin Durant's future just became pretty bleak.  

Warriors GM Bob Myers announced that the All-Star forward has an Achilles injury and will undergo an MRI on Tuesday to find out the severity. According to ESPN's Ramona Shelburne, the Warriors believe that the MRI will confirm an Achilles tendon tear. 

Myers certainly appeared to be devastated by the injury following the Warriors' Game 5 victory. The GM struggled to keep his emotions in check, breaking down into tears and placing the blame on himself for the injury. 

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Mar 4, 2019; Salt Lake City, UT, USA; New Orleans Pelicans forward Anthony Davis (23) dribbles the ball during the first half against the Utah Jazz at Vivint Smart Home Arena. Mandatory Credit: Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports (Russell Isabella)
Mar 4, 2019; Salt Lake City, UT, USA; New Orleans Pelicans forward Anthony Davis (23) dribbles the ball during the first half against the Utah Jazz at Vivint Smart Home Arena. Mandatory Credit: Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports (Russell Isabella)

Anthony Davis is reportedly down to just two teams he wishes to be traded to, and the Knicks have made the cut, per The Athletic's Shams Charania.

Back in February, Davis had given the Pelicans a four-team list of teams he wanted to be traded to in the Knicks, Lakers, Clippers and Bucks. However, sources are telling Charania that the Knicks and Lakers are the only two teams on that list now. However, Davis and his team have not presented a formal list to new EVP of Basketball Operations David Griffin

If the report is true, this would eliminate the Nets and Celtics as potential landing spots for the versatile All-Star center.

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RJ Barrett or Anthony Davis? 00:00:47
Anthony Davis said he considers the Knicks a team he'd like to go to. Would the Knicks definitely have to trade Barrett for Davis?

Ian Begley, SNY.tv Twitter |

RJ Barrett isn't working out or meeting for any team other than the Knicks before the NBA Draft on June 20.

"This is the place I want to be. I hope they draft me," Barrett said after working out for New York on Monday.

Barrett, an 18-year-old freshman from Duke, will likely be available for the Knicks when they select third on draft night. And he's confident that he can handle the pressure that comes with playing in the Big Apple.

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RJ Barrett speaks after workout 00:00:50
RJ Barrett spoke after his workout and spoke about his desire to join the Knicks and added it's the only team he's working out for.

Plain and simple: R.J. Barrett wants to be a New York Knick. 

The Duke standout worked out for the team on Monday, and afterward noted that The Mecca is where he wants to begin his NBA career. 

"This is the place I want to be, so I hope they draft me," Barrett told reporters after the workout session. 

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 (Charles LeClaire)
(Charles LeClaire)

A UConn legend and former New York Liberty player in Swin Cash has reportedly secured a senior front-office position with the New Orleans Pelicans, according to ESPN's Zach Lowe.

Lowe has the official title for Cash being the vice president of basketball operations and team development, which has the duties of guiding player development and scouting among others. 

The Pelicans have been revamping their front office, with new president of basketball operations David Griffin leading the way. Griffin has also brought in Trajan Langdon to be the team's new GM. 

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New Orleans Pelicans forward Anthony Davis reacts against the Phoenix Suns in the second half at Talking Stick Resort Arena. (Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports)
New Orleans Pelicans forward Anthony Davis reacts against the Phoenix Suns in the second half at Talking Stick Resort Arena. (Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports)

The upcoming offseason is already being referred to as the most important in New York Knicks history, potentially carrying enough star power to turn the franchise around almost overnight.

They'll be competing against the recruitment efforts of many other teams in the NBA, though they're part of a select few targeting one specific prize: Anthony Davis. He won't re-sign with the majority of the league, and the New Orleans Pelicans are looking for a big return. The Knicks would have to outbid several teams in order to land The Brow.

But first, what do the Knicks have to offer?

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Knicks rookie Kevin Knox (Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports)
Knicks rookie Kevin Knox (Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports)

Whichever player the Knicks select with the No. 3 overall pick in this year's NBA Draft will inevitably be linked to Kevin Knox one way or another. 

Knox, who the Knicks took ninth overall a year ago, has a pretty good idea of who he'd like that to be: RJ Barrett

"That's my guy -- I played against him a couple of times in high school,'' Knox told the New York Post. "He's a great player. If I can get a chance to play with him, it would be a great opportunity.''

Tags: Kevin Knox
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Charlotte Hornets guard Kemba Walker reacts in the third quarter after a 3-pointer against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden. (Catalina Fragoso/USA TODAY Sports)
Charlotte Hornets guard Kemba Walker reacts in the third quarter after a 3-pointer against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden. (Catalina Fragoso/USA TODAY Sports)

Ian Begley, SNY.tv Twitter |

If Kyrie Irving ends up in Brooklyn, as some execs from teams pursuing him expect, the Knicks will have to look elsewhere for a potential second star to pair with Kevin Durant

The best-case scenario, of course, would be a trade with New Orleans for Anthony Davis. The Knicks would likely have to surrender significant assets - including the No. 3 pick and future first-rounders - to land Davis. But his presence would make New York all the more attractive to potential free agents like Durant. 

Of course, the Knicks could also pursue other guards/forwards in the free agent class to entice a player like Durant to the Garden. 

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May 17, 2019; Chicago, IL, USA; Tacko Fall participates during day two of the NBA Draft Combine at Quest Multisport Complex. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports (David Banks)
May 17, 2019; Chicago, IL, USA; Tacko Fall participates during day two of the NBA Draft Combine at Quest Multisport Complex. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports (David Banks)

Ian Begley, SNY.tv Twitter |

Tacko Fall, a 7-7 big man from UCF, was among the players who worked out for the Knicks on Friday. Duke big man Marques Bolden also worked out for the club.

Fall is an intriguing prospect for New York, which owns the No. 55 pick.

He has impressed teams with his ability to cover ground at his size in workouts, including in Friday's with the Knicks.

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Ian Begley, SNY.tv Twitter |

One of the most important drafts in Knicks history is two weeks away. If it goes the way most assume it will, RJ Barrett will be on the board for New York at No. 3. Barrett, a 6-8 forward from Duke, is a tantalizing prospect. He averaged 22.6 points, 4.3 assists and 7.6 rebounds as a freshman -- the first player in NCAA history to have at least 850 points, 250 rebounds and 150 assists in a season. But, like all 18-year-olds, Barrett isn't perfect.

With that in mind, we talked to a few scouts and talent evaluators and asked them to share some of Barrett's strengths and weaknesses.

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What the Nets trade means for KD 00:00:48
Ian Begley breaks down what the Nets trade means for Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant and the New York Knicks. Who can the Nets sign now?

The Knicks-Nets rivalry is back on. Tipoff of their next matchup is at 6 PM on June 30 - the start of NBA free agency.

Brooklyn's trade with the Hawks on Thursday puts them in position to battle with New York for top free agents this summer. 

The Nets dealt Allen Crabbe, the No. 17 pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, and a lottery-protected first round pick in 2020 for SF Taurean Prince and a 2021 second-round pick, SNY sources confirmed.

The deal, which was first reported by ESPN, leaves the Nets with enough cap space to sign one max free agent -- and a clear path to create enough money to sign a second max star. The Nets will have $46 million in cap space and can create enough space to sign two max free agents if they rescind their rights to point guard D'Angelo Russell and make a few other minor moves.

Tags: Allen Crabbe
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Jun 5, 2019; Oakland, CA, USA; Toronto Raptors forward Kawhi Leonard (2) shoots the ball against Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry (30) in game three of the 2019 NBA Finals at Oracle Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports (Kyle Terada)
Jun 5, 2019; Oakland, CA, USA; Toronto Raptors forward Kawhi Leonard (2) shoots the ball against Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry (30) in game three of the 2019 NBA Finals at Oracle Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports (Kyle Terada)

A few young Knicks and coaches plan to attend the next two NBA Finals games. 

Mitchell Robinson plans to attend Game 5 of Raptors-Warriors with assistant coach Pat Sullivan, per SNY sources. And Kevin Knox, Kadeem Allen, and Allonzo Trier plan to attend Game 4 of the Finals on Friday night, a source confirmed to SNY. 

Last year, David Fizdale brought Emmanuel Mudiay, Damyean Dotson, and Frank Ntilikina to a Celtics-Cavs playoff game. He wanted to show them the atmosphere of playoff basketball. After the season, he said he intended to do the same with the young Knicks from the 2018-19 team. 

Tags: Allonzo Trier, Emmanuel Mudiay, Frank Ntilikina, Kevin Knox, Mitchell Robinson, Ian Begley
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NBA Draft season is upon us, and the Knicks were awarded the No. 3 overall pick following the NBA Draft Lottery. As June 20 approaches to them being on the clock, here is the latest about the top prospects in this year's Draft class as it pertains to the Knicks...


June 6, 10:51 AM:

The Knicks' college visits continue this week, as SNY's Ian Begley is hearing Lousiville F VJ King is scheduled for his workout with the team on Friday. 

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Duke Blue Devils forward R.J. Barrett reacts during the second half against the Wake Forest Demon Deacons at Cameron Indoor Stadium. (Rob Kinnan/USA TODAY Sports)
Duke Blue Devils forward R.J. Barrett reacts during the second half against the Wake Forest Demon Deacons at Cameron Indoor Stadium. (Rob Kinnan/USA TODAY Sports)

The Knicks have a multitude of options in this year's NBA Draft, but their choice can't be made in a vacuum. Their broader rebuild plan will be a factor in which prospect(s) they decide to bet on -- namely the free agent bonanza beginning on July 1.

The dream scenario for the franchise is picking up two superstar-level players, with the popular pairing being Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. If the Knicks are to end up signing the two -- perhaps a tall task at the moment with rumblings that Irving is leaning toward the Nets -- which rookie would be the best fit for a squad led by those elite talents?

RJ Barrett

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Culver after Knicks workout 00:02:21
New York Knicks worked out prospect Jarrett Culver who described the impact he would bring to the team and how he knows Mitchell Robinson.

Texas Tech's Jarrett Culver worked out for the Knicks on Wednesday and has workouts scheduled with the Bulls (No. 7 pick), Hawks (No. 8) and Cavs (No. 5). He's already worked out for the Lakers (No. 4).

Based on those workouts, it's clear that Culver is a top 8 pick in the draft.

He said on Wednesday that he thinks his defense is what separates him from other top 2019 prospects.

Tags: Mitchell Robinson, Ian Begley
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Apr 5, 2019; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Boston Celtics guard Kyrie Irving (11) warms up before the game against the Indiana Pacers at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports (Brian Spurlock)
Apr 5, 2019; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Boston Celtics guard Kyrie Irving (11) warms up before the game against the Indiana Pacers at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports (Brian Spurlock)

Though the official start date of NBA free agency isn't until July 1, any rumor or tidbit of information that revolves around Kyrie Irving will be dissected to find any notion as to where he might land for the 2019-2020 season. 

On Wednesday, that included his latest Instagram post. 

Irving posted a video of him speaking with his old middle school crossing guard from his days in New Jersey. Sharing a sentimental conversation, some Knicks fans might take into account his caption for the post that read, "Stroll with me Light Family! Home is where the heart lives and stays!"

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Is Kyrie Irving New York-bound? 00:00:50
SNY NBA Insider Ian Begley reports the latest on Kyrie Irving, and talks about the chances of him landing with the Knicks, Nets, or Celtics.

Let's start here with Kyrie Irving, the Knicks and the Nets: free agency is still more than three weeks away.

So there's plenty of time for players -- and teams -- to change their mind about their preferences for this summer.

That applies to Irving as well. His plans/desires today may not be the same as they are on June 30. With that said, in recent days, people around Irving have described the probability of him returning to Boston as a free agent as low. Celtics GM Danny Ainge told reporters Wednesday that they haven't received any indication yet from Irving that he doesn't want to return to Boston.

Those around Irving also said recently that he hasn't ruled out teams -- including the Knicks -- as possible destinations for him this summer, per SNY sources.

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Toronto Raptors forward Kawhi Leonard drives for the basket against Milwaukee Bucks guard Malcolm Brogdon during the fourth quarter in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals at Fiserv Forum. (Jeff Hanisch/USA TODAY Sports)
Toronto Raptors forward Kawhi Leonard drives for the basket against Milwaukee Bucks guard Malcolm Brogdon during the fourth quarter in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals at Fiserv Forum. (Jeff Hanisch/USA TODAY Sports)

The Knicks have the cap space to sign two max free agents this summer and potentially add another star by trading for Anthony Davis. But don't expect one of those free agents to be Kawhi Leonard.

According to the latest odds released by Odds Shark, the Knicks' chances to land Kawhi pale in comparison to others.

The odds:

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Mar 28, 2019; Anaheim, CA, USA; Texas Tech Red Raiders guard Jarrett Culver (23) against the Michigan Wolverines in the semifinals of the west regional of the 2019 NCAA Tournament at Honda Center. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports (Robert Hanashiro)
Mar 28, 2019; Anaheim, CA, USA; Texas Tech Red Raiders guard Jarrett Culver (23) against the Michigan Wolverines in the semifinals of the west regional of the 2019 NCAA Tournament at Honda Center. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports (Robert Hanashiro)

The Knicks have worked out several prospects at their facility in Tarrytown in the past few weeks. They'll work out several more - including Texas Tech's Jarrett Culver on Wednesday - ahead of the 2019 NBA Draft. 

Mississippi State's Quindarry Weatherspoon and Aric Holman were in the gym on Monday. They gave SNY a rundown of the workout, which included an on-court message from David Fizdale and a lunch-time conversation with general manager Scott Perry

Here's a look at Monday's workout: 

There were six players in the gym. The day started with some medical testing and on-court testing. From there, the players did some ball-handling work, light conditioning, transition and shooting drills. Some Knicks assistant coaches were on the court for the workout and most of the scouting staff and front office was in the gym to watch. 

Tags: Carmelo Anthony, Ian Begley
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November 23, 2018; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Turner Sports sportscaster Charles Barkley before The Match: Tiger vs Phil golf match at Shadow Creek Golf Course. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports (Kyle Terada)
November 23, 2018; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Turner Sports sportscaster Charles Barkley before The Match: Tiger vs Phil golf match at Shadow Creek Golf Course. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports (Kyle Terada)

If Charles Barkley was a free agent this summer and both the Knicks and Nets were pursuing him, he says he'd choose to sign with the Nets. 

Here's why: "I'd probably take the Nets because I think they're more stable," Barkley said on a conference call to promote the American Century Championship golf tournament. "I think they've got the better supporting cast. I think (Nets GM) Sean Marks has done a fabulous job and Coach (Kenny) Atkinson has done a fabulous job. Nobody thought that team would make the playoffs and they did a fabulous job. They play hard every night. They're just more stable than the Knicks. Obviously, the Knicks are the Knicks. But from a strictly basketball standpoint, the Nets are clearly a more stable organization."


 

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May 6, 2019; Houston, TX, USA; Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant (35) reacts after a play during the third quarter against the Houston Rockets in game four of the second round of the 2019 NBA Playoffs at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports (Troy Taormina)
May 6, 2019; Houston, TX, USA; Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant (35) reacts after a play during the third quarter against the Houston Rockets in game four of the second round of the 2019 NBA Playoffs at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports (Troy Taormina)

Kevin Durant is one of the top free agents on the market, and is expected to give the Knicks strong consideration if he decides to leave Golden State.

If Durant asked Charles Barkley about signing with the Knicks as a free agent, here is what Barkley would tell him:

"Well I'd say, 'Kevin you're one of the greatest players I've ever seen. You've also got some of the thinnest skin I've ever seen. I don't know if you're made for New York City," Barkley said on a conference call to promote American Century Championship golf tournament. "I think that would be the toughest aspect...

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May 29, 2019; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Raptors forward Kawhi Leonard (2) passes the ball during practice for the NBA Finals at Scotiabank Arena. Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports (Dan Hamilton)
May 29, 2019; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Raptors forward Kawhi Leonard (2) passes the ball during practice for the NBA Finals at Scotiabank Arena. Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports (Dan Hamilton)

A one-and-done season is what many expected from Kawhi Leonard with the Raptors this season. And that mindset stayed even when Toronto went all the way to the NBA Finals. 

But should it change after the latest tidbit of news that surfaced about the small forward? 

It was reported during a Toronto morning show with host Michael Landsberg, with a contributing report from TrueHoop.com's David Thorpe, that Leonard had just purchased a new property in the city. 

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Apr 6, 2017; New York, NY, USA; General view during pre game introductions before a game between the New York Knicks and the Washington Wizards at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Apr 6, 2017; New York, NY, USA; General view during pre game introductions before a game between the New York Knicks and the Washington Wizards at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

Knicks assistant Howard Eisley will be leaving David Fizdale's staff. 

Per Brendan Quinn of The Athletic, Eisley will join Juwan Howard's staff at the University of Michigan. 

Eisley, 46, joined the Knicks coaching staff in 2016 when Jeff Hornacek was head coach and was kept as an assistant under Fizdale. 

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Mar 31, 2019; Washington, DC, USA; Duke Blue Devils forward Cam Reddish (2) and guard Jordan Goldwire (14) walk off the court ofter losing to the Michigan State Spartans in the championship game of the east regional of the 2019 NCAA Tournament at Capital One Arena. Mandatory Credit: Amber Searls-USA TODAY Sports (Amber Searls)
Mar 31, 2019; Washington, DC, USA; Duke Blue Devils forward Cam Reddish (2) and guard Jordan Goldwire (14) walk off the court ofter losing to the Michigan State Spartans in the championship game of the east regional of the 2019 NCAA Tournament at Capital One Arena. Mandatory Credit: Amber Searls-USA TODAY Sports (Amber Searls)

The Knicks are faced with many an option with their No. 3 pick in this upcoming NBA Draft, including trading down to pick up two lottery players instead of one, and the chance at one of two ball-dominant, high-ceiling college stars. An impending free agency period in which New York is expected to sign a major star only complicates matters.

Perhaps most importantly, the Knicks just need to avoid a calamitous mistake. Every asset they compile is crucial towards their rebuild, and patience is wearing thin for this team to finally get it together. Here are some of the high-risk selections the front office should consider passing up on.

Anyone but R.J. Barrett and Ja Morant...

Tags: Frank Ntilikina
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May 16, 2019; Chicago, IL, USA; Ja Morant after speaking to the media during day one of the NBA Draft Combine at Quest Multisport Complex. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports (David Banks)
May 16, 2019; Chicago, IL, USA; Ja Morant after speaking to the media during day one of the NBA Draft Combine at Quest Multisport Complex. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports (David Banks)

Ja Morant may not be a lock to the Grizzlies at No. 2 overall in the NBA Draft.

ESPN is reporting that the Grizzlies are "sending out some mixed messages" after previously making it known that they intended to select Morant. Another ESPN report says Morant will undergo arthroscopic knee surgery on Monday, from which the Murray State standout is expected to recover in three-to-four weeks.

Memphis reportedly requested a private workout with Duke's RJ Barrett, who's been considered the likely No. 3 pick to the Knicks. Barrett declined but may reconsider, per ESPN.

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Mar 14, 2018; Oakland, CA, USA; Retired NBA player Metta World Peace smiles before the game between the Golden State Warriors and the Los Angeles Lakers at Oracle Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports (Kelley L Cox)
Mar 14, 2018; Oakland, CA, USA; Retired NBA player Metta World Peace smiles before the game between the Golden State Warriors and the Los Angeles Lakers at Oracle Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports (Kelley L Cox)

Among the Knicks draft blunders in franchise history, selecting Frederic Weis over Metta World Peace, known as Ron Artest at the time, in the 1999 NBA Draft was one of the more infamous decisions. 

World Peace was a New York native and standout at St. John's. Weis was an international player from France who ultimately never played a game in the NBA. 

So what was the exact reason the Knicks didn't select World Peace 20 years ago?

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Duke Blue Devils forward RJ Barrett goes up for a shot against the Syracuse Orange in the ACC tournament at Spectrum Center. (Jeremy Brevard/USA TODAY Sports)
Duke Blue Devils forward RJ Barrett goes up for a shot against the Syracuse Orange in the ACC tournament at Spectrum Center. (Jeremy Brevard/USA TODAY Sports)

Dwayne Washington first trained RJ Barrett when he was 12 years old. As director of the UPLAYCanada grass roots program, Washington also coached Barrett for several years. So he knows the 19-year-old well. And Washington is confident Barrett would be a perfect fit on and off the court in New York.

"If he goes to New York, the only thing he will be defined by is winning. It's not about, 'I'm here to get a check' or 'I made it to the league -- look momma, I made it.' His goals are so high and they all revolve around winning," Washington said in a phone interview with SNY. "I can't say that for everybody. But he's different."

Washington is a citizen of Canada but grew up in the Bronx. So he's not speaking with an out-of-town perspective when he discusses Barrett's fit in the Big Apple.

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