The New York Knicks are right in the hunt for signing Kevin Durant this offseason but the franchise has put in place certain backup plans if they fail to sign the two-time Finals MVP.
According to Ian Begley of SNY, the Knicks also have a lot of interest in DeMarcus Cousins but they will instead prioritize Bobby Portis and Julius Randle ahead of Cousins if they can’t land Durant. Both Portis and Randle are much younger than Cousins and have not been through the same injury battles that the Warriors big man has suffered over his career.
The Knicks are able to make room for two max stars and the franchise is looking at Kyrie Irving and Kawhi Leonard along with KD to fill those two positions. If New York misses out on those three big names, their focus will shift to Portis and Randle.
If they miss out on those top targets, the Knicks will have a strong interest in young bigs Julius Randle and Bobby Portis, per SNY sources.
League sources confirmed to SNY that the Knicks are also considering making a significant short-term offer to DeMarcus Cousins. But some in the organization have said that going after younger players like Randle and Portis is a priority that’s ahead of pursuing Cousins, who will be 29 at the beginning of next season.
Portis, the Washington Wizards big man will become a restricted free agent this offseason, if he signs an offer sheet with the Knicks, the Wizards would then have 48 hours to match it if they choose to. The big man joined the Wizards during the 2018-2019 season after he was traded from the Chicago Bulls.
As for Randle, he becomes an unrestricted free agent after he declined his 2019-20 player option with the New Orleans Pelicans. This may be a suitable match for both the Knicks and Randle, the Power Forward averaged an impressive 21.4 points along with 8.7 rebounds this season while playing with the Pelicans.
The Knicks have a busy offseason ahead of them but it will all come down to whether or not they can sign the big named stars first.