New York, June 26: New York Knicks president Steve Mills said the NBA franchise will do "everything we can to attract free agents" amid links to Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving.
Golden State Warriors star Durant and Irving of the Boston Celtics have both emerged as targets in the upcoming free agency period.
While the Knicks have cap space to entice star names, New York – who have not made the playoffs since 2012-13 – are only focused on retaining players who are committed to building toward success.
"We're going to do everything we can to try to attract free agents, as long as they're the guys that buy into what we're trying to do as an organisation," Mills told The Undefeated on Tuesday.
While New York have two max slots that could be filled by All-Star calibre players, Mills insisted this was not the initial plan.
Tell us how you really feel New York!pic.twitter.com/UJIe498GGU— NEW YORK KNICKS (@nyknicks) June 25, 2019
"Our plan wasn't to create $70million in room to go after free agents this summer," Mills said. "Our plan was to organically build this team through teamwork, drafting well, getting high-character guys that want to compete. The space was a by-product of that. If the right guys are there for us, great, because we still have all the young pieces and draft picks to move forward.
"And if they're not, we're going to keep building our plan, drafting our guys, playing well and potentially being trade partners. We feel really good about where we are going."
The Knicks drafted Duke's RJ Barrett with the third pick in the 2019 NBA Draft and have promising young assets in Kevin Knox, Dennis Smith Jr. and Mitchell Robinson.
But they traded away star big man Kristaps Porzingis in February and missed out on a chance to land New Orleans Pelicans All-Star Anthony Davis, who has reportedly been moved to the Los Angeles Lakers.
The Knicks finished with a league-worst 17-65 record last season and were not able to land top prospect Zion Williamson, so failure to upgrade their roster could lead to more suffering in 2019-20.
Durant and Irving are reportedly interested in teaming up and the Brooklyn Nets are in contention to land the duo. Nevertheless, the Knicks are looking for players with drive who want to bring glory back to Madison Square Garden.
"The opportunity to put a banner in that building? You're not a competitor if you don't want that," Knicks head coach David Fizdale said.