Knicks could prefer Kawhi Leonard over Kevin Durant in free agency

Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

The Toronto Raptors and star forward Kawhi Leonard are two wins away from the NBA championship. Meanwhile, his counterpart in Golden State remains sidelined.

These are the two biggest stories heading into Game 4 of the 2019 NBA Finals between the Warriors and Raptors.

While Leonard’s team is coming off an impressive Game 3 win in Oakland, Durant remains sidelined with a calf injury.

Within the next month, both will be free agents.

Linked more to the New York Knicks than any other team, it was previously a near certainty that Durant would be heading to the Big Apple. We’re not sure where that stands at this point.

What we do know is that the Knicks are now seemingly prepared to make a full-court press to sign Leonard away from Toronto.

According to Steve Popper of Newsday, there’s even some within the Knicks’ organization who prefer Leonard over Durant.

“While Durant’s flirtation with New York has been immersed in talk of branding deals and production opportunities, there is a contingent in the Knicks front office that is enamored not just with Leonard’s two-way talents on the court, but with the fact that he would bring little drama with him,” Popper reported.

That’s a rather interesting tidbit right there. Durant’s ability to handle the bright lights of New York City has come under question during a drama-filled 2018-19 season with the Warriors.

However, he might be a more logical option than Leonard. If the Raptors’ star were to bring a title to Toronto, it would be hard for him to leave Canada.

Then again, the Knicks might be on the verge of striking out on Kyrie Irving. It’s also not a foregone conclusion that Durant bolts Northern California once the calendar flips to July.

Stay tuned.