NEW YORK — For all their talk about building slowly with young players via the draft and possibly landing a big-name free agent this summer, the Knicks blew up their plan in one fell swoop by sending Kristaps Porzingis to Dallas in a multi-player blockbuster that will make them major players for two superstars this summer.The Knicks’ primary target has always been Kevin Durant, who wouldn’t even meet with them in the Hamptons when he left Oklahoma City in 2016. Now, he’ll almost certainly invite them to pitch their case on July 1. Shedding cap-unfriendly salaries in the forms of Tim Hardaway Jr. and Courtney Lee, they can sell Durant on bringing another max-level free agent to New York to join him. Plus, they’re headed for one of the top picks in the draft. MORE: The complete Porzingis trade timelineIt’s the kind of move that has Knicks CEO James Dolan’s fingerprints all over it. He had to be growing frustrated with the way this season had been going, while sitting at his courtside seat, chafing to bring in some much-needed star power to the Garden. Don’t forget, the last major star who came to New York was Carmelo Anthony in a blockbuster deal that was engineered by Dolan in 2011, as then general manager Donnie Walsh took a backseat during the discussions with the Nuggets.Porzingis loved living in New York and being the king of the Garden during his injury-plagued run on Broadway. But he was always skeptical that the Knicks had what it took to surround him with the kind of players that would have led to some major winning. So it’s not surprising that he was looking to leave.So now Knicks fans can eagerly count down the days until July 1. But with their track record for losing and dysfunction, the Knicks will still have to convince Durant that he can win titles in New York. That won’t be easy…Pistons not dealing DrummondThe Pistons are on the outside looking in when it comes to a playoff berth. Owner Tom Gores expressed his dissatisfaction with how the season has unfolded in coach Dwane Casey’s first year in the Motor City.”We’re not winning enough, so we have to do something,” Gores said earlier this week.TRADE RUMORS: Teams targeting Ish Smith, Reggie BullockDon’t expect the Pistons to move Andre Drummond, though. It’s not just that potential suitors are scared off by his lack of passion, something that has also frustrated the team, or by his contract, which has two seasons left at $56 million, if Drummond opts in in 2020.Gores has been Drummond’s biggest supporter and continues to regard the two-time All-Star center as a personal favorite. When Stan Van Gundy was in power as team president, twice he found a trading partner for Drummond and was set to send him out of town, only to have Gores kill the deals, said someone familiar with both deals. According to league sources, the Pistons haven’t shopped or taken calls on Drummond.So what does Detroit do? We know one avenue to improvement that no longer is available. The Pistons, at one point, were in the hunt for Dallas’ Dennis Smith Jr., only to see him go to the Knicks in the Porzingis deal.Latest NBA news, rumors, trade buzz— Klutch Sports and Rich Paul have targeted Murray State guard Ja Morant to add to their stable, with Morant projected to be a lottery pick this June. The leading competition is shaping up as Ray Allen’s agent, Jim Tanner. Allen played with Morant’s dad, Tee, when they were in high school in South Carolina.That makes for an interesting showdown since Allen was last seen on the court teaming with Paul and Klutch Sports’ most famous client, LeBron James.— Last week, the Sixers decided it would be a good idea to have Jimmy Butler leave the team to get his injured wrist examined by a hand specialist in Los Angeles. What they didn’t say, but what they also wanted, was for Butler to get away from his teammates for a few days.Apparently, his Attila the Hun act in the locker room necessitated a break for everyone. Butler knew of the team’s wishes and didn’t mind going away. In fact, during his stay in LA, he ended up dining with some former Timberwolves teammates who were in town to play the Lakers.— Sacramento coach Dave Joerger would love the addition of Marc Gasol for his young Kings. He had Gasol when he coached in Memphis as an assistant and head coach from 2006-16, and despite what’s been going on in Memphis the last two seasons, he views Gasol as a winner and a pro’s pro who could help groom De’Aaron Fox. But there’s some reason to doubt whether the Kings would make a move to add Gasol in the coming days. The Grizzlies have been telling teams that they want a first-rounder for this June in any Gasol trade, but the Kings don’t own their first-round pick this year, having traded it off to the Sixers in 2015.From the Kings’ viewpoint, they’d also be looking at Gasol as a potential rental, unless he would agree to stay via an extension. Barring a change of heart, the Kings are opposed to sending off young assets in a deal unless they know for sure that Gasol will re-sign.Listen to Mitch Lawrence on SiriusXM NBA Radio on The Starting Lineup, No Look Pass, NBA Today and NBA Weekend. Follow him on Twitter: @Mitch_Lawrence.
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