Knicks Coach David Fizdale insisted he hasn’t paid attention to Durant’s contract status.
“Not even a little bit. Nope. I don’t even like saying it when it’s not about anything, because he’s a killer,” Fizdale said. “I was watching film on him the other day, and the guy’s just so efficient. He’s a special player. But no, I can’t talk about that other stuff.”
Fizdale said his immediate focus was on preparing his 1-4 team for a murderers’ row of opponents. Stephen Curry. Klay Thompson. Draymond Green. And, yes, Durant.
“Oh goodness. I don’t know if you can describe the challenges,” Fizdale said of the Warriors. “I like the opportunity myself. For our young guys to go up against the champs in the Garden, that’s a great opportunity for us. They can play free, and no one expects us to do anything against them. Except for me.”
The Knicks are expected to have enough cap space this summer to pay a free agent such as Durant if he enters free agency, as many think he will. But would Durant leave a team poised to win its third consecutive N.B.A. championship for a franchise that last held the O’Brien Trophy in 1973?
“He’s one of the top, top-two scorers in the world,” said Kanter, who was Durant’s teammate in Oklahoma City and also will be a free agent next summer. “He’s an unbelievable guy. A very good locker-room guy, a very good friend. Obviously, he’s a two-time finals M.V.P. You cannot say enough about the guy. He’s definitely earned that respect for himself.”
But does he want New York for himself?
“Man, I have no idea,” Kanter said. “I’m not in his head. But one thing I am right now: I’m worried about the Knicks.”
After an entertaining start to the season, filled with comebacks that have fallen just short, the Knicks suffered their worst loss of the season Wednesday, falling 110-87 in Miami.