We've been talking about the potential of Kevin Durant signing with the New York Knicks for more than a year. We've all heard the rumors. You can't even qualify them as whispers anymore.
The Knicks have done plenty to fuel these fires. There was the decision in late January to ship off the previous savior, Kristaps Porzingis, to the Dallas Mavericks for draft picks and cap relief. About two months later, Knicks president Steve Mills and general manager Scott Perry sent an email to season ticket holders explaining the move.
"We have created a tremendous amount of financial flexibility, which has put us in a position to potentially sign up to two max free agents," the letter offered as part of the rational.
And that was just a few weeks after Madison Square Garden Chairman James Dolan went on The Michael Kay Show and proclaimed, "We hear from people all the time, from players and representatives about who wants to come…I can tell you, from what we've heard, I think we're going to have a very successful offseason when it comes to free agents."
Neither Mills nor Perry nor Dolan has stated as much, but it was clear Durant was the primary target. And why wouldn't he be? When healthy, he's perhaps the best player in the NBA. But now he's injured, likely with an Achilles tear, likely one that will sideline him for at least a year. Who knows if he'll ever be the same.
Many seem to believe this means the Knicks' latest rebuilding plans have failed, that their future is once again grim. You've no doubt both heard and read this view over the past 24 hours. It's an understandable leap to make, but it's also one that misses the point.
As we saw with LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers this past year, even the greatest players can't single-handedly turn franchises around. In other words: The Durant injury might alter the Knicks' options, but the goal remains the same.