The New York Knicks secured one superstar this summer by re-signing Carmelo Anthony to a new five-year contract. Now, it appears the Knicks are already putting the wheels in motion to try to land the next big fish that could hit the open market in a couple years: Kevin Durant
The New York Post is reporting that the team’s hire of Brian Keefe as an assistant coach today is a step towards trying to make New York a more appealing destination for Durant when his contract with the Oklahoma City Thunder expires.
Durant, a free agent in 2016, is very close to Keefe, according to an NBA source. Keefe had been with Oklahoma City for seven seasons — the first two as developmental coach — before being promoted to assistant. The hire, unofficially made in mid-July, can’t hurt the Knicks’ pitch for Durant if they still have cap space to spend that summer. “He’s Durant’s guy,’’ the league source said.
New team president Phil Jackson already hired Durant’s former teammate Derek Fisher as Knicks head coach this offseason. Durant shared some heavy praise about the veteran guard when he was asked about the idea of Fisher being a head coach back in May.
“Without a doubt. He’s a smart guy, smart mind. He’s a great motivator, great speaker and can really relate to a lot of guys and demands that respect from everybody. He’s a great locker-room guy. I’m sure he’ll do a great job.’
New York’s hiring of Keefe follows a similar strategy to what the Washington Wizards did earlier this summer, by bring aboard a person close to the star forward. Washington added David Adkins, Durant’s high school head coach, to the team’s assistant coaching staff back in June.