June 12, 2019| 4:44am
Anthony Davis, Kawhi Leonard and Kevin Durant
Getty Images (2); AP
Kevin Durant’sfeared torn Achilles tendoncould sway him not to opt out of the $31 million left on his contract since he may miss next season. Pairing KD with another star was the Knicks’ Plan A, but nowthey may have to pivot. The Post’s Marc Berman looks at their options:
1. Sign Kawhi Leonard
Their plan already was to court Durant while also going full bore on Leonard, the potential 2019 Finals MVP who could be a better fit than KD anyway because of his even temperament. But why would Leonard leave a potential NBA champion to join a Knicks roster bereft of another current standout?
They would need an Anthony Davis trade in the bank and a commitment from Kyrie Irving to make the Knicks more attractive to Leonard than the Clippers and Raptors. It wouldn’t hurt to sign Leonard’s Spurs and Raptors teammate Danny Green, either. Or do a one-year, risk-free deal with four-time All-Star DeMarcus Cousins.
2. Sign Durant anyway
Can they still roll the dice with Durant? He wants to build a global empire and his closest advisers mulled New York as a top spot to do it in.
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If the Knicks privately agree to a deal before free agency so he opts out, they can give Durant a max contract and hope by the 2020-21 season, at age 32, he’s still the same dominant player he was before the Achilles tear. Next season would be another tank year to add an additional lottery pick. It’s the ultimate risk-reward scenario, but the Knicks could be that desperate.
3. Build around youth
Short of landing max players, the Knicks can continue to build around their youth (Kevin Knox, Mitchell Robinson, Dennis Smith Jr., Frank Ntilikina, potentially RJ Barrett, Allonzo Trier, Damyean Dotson) and save most of their cap space. They would then tank for another 2020 lottery pick. The Knicks could use some space to re-sign Emmanuel Mudiay and make a run at a young free-agent from the second or third tier they like, such as young athletic bull-of-a-power-forward Julius Randle, who fits their mold, or point guard Terry Rozier.
4. Trade for Anthony Davis
Trading for Davis may turn into either a lesser or stronger priority after the Durant devastation, but the Knicks would need to make a smart trade and not give up too many key young assets. The Pelicans eventually could get desperate, and perhaps teams would shy away if Davis is dead serious about his reported two-team wish list for re-signing — Lakers and Knicks.