LeBron James and Kevin Durant
LeBron James is on a different level to Kevin Durant according to Max Kellerman. In this picture, LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers drives against Kevin Durant #35 of the Golden State Warriors during Game Three of the 2018 NBA Finals at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio on June 6, 2018. Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

Even if Kevin Durant does join the New York Knicks in 2019, ESPN commentator Max Kellerman is not convinced he will make them instant contenders in the East.

Following his second successive championship with the Golden State Warriors earlier this summer, Durant became a free agent only to sign another one-plus-one deal that could see him become an unrestricted free agent at the end of next season.

Such a contract gives the 29-year-old power and control over his future, but in all likelihood, he will remain with the Warriors next season, especially as the Bay Area side will be able to obtain his Bird rights, allowing them to exceed their salary cap and offer him a five-year, $219 supermax deal.

Regardless, the Knicks are one of the teams very interested in Durant's services.

They have the market and lure of Madison Square Garden, as well as the cap space for one, potentially two star players in next year's free agency pool. In addition, 24.2 percent of an ESPN panel believe a move to the Big Apple is in store for the former Oklahoma City Thunder star.

But unlike LeBron James moving to a Los Angeles Lakers side that were 35-47, and making them playoff contenders in the process, Kellerman does not believe Durant will have the same effect on the Knicks, who finished the regular season with a 29-53 record.

"KD would be going to the biggest market who has never had a player as good as him," Kellerman recently said. "He would immediately, day one, he’s the best player in the history of the New York Knicks. And he can play above the rim if he has to - the Knicks have never really had a great player who could do any of that stuff."

"Here is the problem. If [Kristaps] Porzingis stays healthy and they get another star, who says they dominate the East? You are making the mistake of putting KD on the same level as LeBron James. They are two different levels of player, I can’t say this clearly enough. LeBron James is up here, everyone else is a full level below. KD can’t see LeBron, not the same calibre player, period."

Kellerman added there are a number of teams in the East who would still be superior to a Durant-led Knicks side, especially now that James will be playing in the Western Conference for the first time in his career this upcoming season.

"Let’s say KD does go to the Knicks and Porzingis turns into a star, but not a superstar, and they do get Kyrie [Irving] or some other good player," Kellerman explained. "Are they necessarily better than, I don't know, the Raptors with Kawhi [Leonard]? Are they better than the Celtics if Kyrie doesn’t leave the Celtics, especially considering the moves Danny Ainge is capable of making?"

"You put KD on the Knicks right now, are they the best in the East? Nope. Put KD on the Wizards right now, are you sure they’re better than the Celtics? I’m not. Are they better than the Raptors? I don't know. Let's say Kawhi does go to L.A., he leaves the Raptors and you replace him with KD. Do the Raptors get better? I don't think so. If they did, maybe marginally."

"You have made the mistake of thinking KD is LeBron. KD is an All-Time great – he ain’t LeBron James. LeBron James is going down in history as the second greatest player who ever lived. KD is not there."