Kevin Durant’s agent reportedly tried convincing him to join the Knicks during 2019 free agency

Phoenix Suns forward Kevin Durant (35) shoots a technical foul against the New York Knicks in the first half at Footprint Center
Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports

When former 2014 NBA MVP Kevin Durant hit the free agent market in the summer of 2019, the New York Knicks made it to the reported shortlist of teams he’d join, and his agent, Rich Kleiman, tried to get him to the Big Apple.

Ultimately, Durant chose to team up with Kyrie Irving, and later James Harden, on the Brooklyn Nets. But a recent interview on Durant’s media platform, Boardroom, shed light on the strong push he received from one of his closest advisors to choose the Knicks.

Knicks: Rich Kleiman wanted Kevin Durant in a Knicks uniform

Kleiman asked the 2024 All-Star to verify his plea in their most recent Boardroom sit-down interview:

“Will you tell the camera and whatever Knicks fans will watch this that I wanted you to go to the Knicks,” Keiman said.

Durant agreed, before explaining why he strayed away from the Knicks:

“The brand was cool, but at the time, you know I’m not looking at the cool brand outside of the game. I was looking at the team, and the team was not cool to play for. The team was not cool to watch,” Durant replied.

What factors surrounded Durant’s 2019 free agency?

Durant had sustained a torn Achilles in the 2019 NBA Finals, but that did not stop Knicks fans from salivating at the thought of having the superstar scorer become their franchise player.

There was much hype around the team at the time, with that year’s draft offering the Knicks a chance to win the No. 1 pick and select Duke’s Zion Williamson, the most coveted amateur talent since LeBron James in 2003. Irving’s free agency also closely tied him to the Knicks and Nets as well.

There was a realistic chance for the Knicks to form a big three with the trio of All-Stars in one swoop, but the ball did not fall in their favor. Their struggles as a team during the 2018-19 campaign wound up hurting them in many more ways than in the standings. While Kleiman is a valued business partner and friend to Durant, the two-time Finals MVP’s convictions trumped Kleiman’s urge.

Currently, the Knicks are enjoying a successful season at 33-22, but Durant’s presence, as it would with any other team in the Association, would have made them all the more formidable as championship contenders.

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