Sources say Rich Kleiman, who serves as Kevin Durant’s manager and agent, supported the idea of KD joining the Knicks but wasn’t able to convince him. Nicole Sweet-USA TODAY Sports

Kevin Durant said again this week that he had no intention of joining the Knicks as a free agent last summer, relays Marc Berman of The New York Post. Appearing on J.J. Redick‘s podcast, Durant said he welcomed a more comfortable situation with the Nets rather than trying to turn around a downtrodden franchise.

“Around February (2019) I was thinking I didn’t want to be the savior of the Knicks or New York,’’ Durant said. “That never really moved me. I didn’t care about being on Broadway. I just want to play ball and go to the crib and chill. So I felt like that’s what Brooklyn embodied. And I wanted to live in New York. And I felt like Brooklyn is everything I’m about — chill, on the low, all-black everything, we’re quiet. Just focus on basketball. There’s no show when you come to our games. No Madison Square, no mecca. … We’re just going to hoop and build something new in Brooklyn.”

Durant noticed the hype about him coming to the Knicks, especially after New York traded Kristaps Porzingis to Dallas in a deal that cleared enough cap space for two maximum contracts. Sources say Rich Kleiman, who serves as Durant’s manager and agent, supported the idea of Durant joining the Knicks but wasn’t able to convince him.

“I never planned on going to the Knicks,’’ Durant said. “That was just the media putting that out there, especially when I didn’t sign a three-year deal (as a free agent in 2018). Once I signed a (one-year deal), just the noise got louder about me going to the Knicks for some reason. Knicks being the savior, you know how that goes. Every time a big free agent is up, the Knicks are going to get him. So it just took off.”

There’s more from New York:

  • The Knicks are in a better position to build for the future this offseason, notes Ian Begley of SNY.tv. Former team president Steve Mills focused on landing big-name free agents, which led to his dismissal when the strategy failed. Leon Rose and his new management team can afford to build through the draft, where the Knicks have seven first-rounders in the next four years, or they can use some of those picks to facilitate trades.
  • The Knicks could make a bold move by dealing for Thunder point guard Chris Paul, suggests Steve Popper of Newsday. Even though the 35-year-old doesn’t fit in with the current youth movement, Popper states that he would instantly become the best player on the team and could help new coach Tom Thibodeau develop the younger talent. Paul remains close to Rose, his former agent, and the Knicks could create enough cap room to avoid having to match his $41.3 million salary for next season in a trade. Popper speculates that Paul and Rose could be enough to attract free agent Carmelo Anthony back to New York.
  • The eight teams not invited to Orlando can begin workouts Monday, and Popper writes in the same story that the Knicks expect to have almost all their players attending, even the potential free agents.

This article first appeared on Hoops Rumors and was syndicated with permission.

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