New York could reportedly have $74.6 million in cap space entering July's free agency.
The Knicks made a significant move toward clearing salary cap space for July's free agency on Thursday by trading Kristaps Porzingis, Tim Hardaway Jr. and Courtney Lee to Dallas. New York will receive second-year guard Dennis Smith Jr., DeAndre Jordan, Wesley Matthews and two future first-round picks.
This year New York can have up to $74.6 million in salary cap entering free agency, according to ESPN's Bobby Marks. But will that be enough to land one of the premier stars on the free-agent market?
Two-time Finals MVP Kevin Durant is the biggest headliner to hit free-agency in July. While his tenure in Golden State has been relatively smooth sailing – and immensely successful – rumors have persisted throughout the season that New York is a potential landing spot after 2018-19. Tossing aside the basketball implications of Durant's move, check out the economics of Durant's potential decision below.
Max contract with Golden State:
The Warriors can offer Durant the most money of any team this offseason. He will be able to sign a five-year, $221 million deal with Golden State, earning an average annual value of $44.2 million. The Warriors are the only team who can offer Durant a fifth year on his contract.
Max contract with New York (or other team):
Any non-Warrior team can offer Durant a four-year deal worth $164 million. Durant's salary in 2019-20 would check in at just over $38 million. No team can offer a fifth year on any potential contract.
Knicks money leftover?
New York's clearing of salaries on Thursday sets the franchise up for adding another max contract (one over $35 million) in addition to Durant. Kawhi Leonard, Kyrie Irving, Jimmy Butler and Klay Thompson are among the available free agents expected to collect max salaries on the open market.