Kevin Durant Free Agency: Knicks Forced to Take Down Season Ticket Advertisement Featuring Warriors Star

Kevin Durant, Golden State Warriors
Kevin Durant, #35 of the Golden State Warriors during the NBA game against the Phoenix Suns at Talking Stick Resort Arena on February 8, in Phoenix, Arizona. The Warriors defeated the Suns 117-107. Christian Petersen/Getty Images

The New York Knicks were left red faced after they used a picture of Kevin Durant in a campaign to promote season tickets, which had to be taken down.

The Knicks' interest in the 10-time All-Star is one of the NBA's worst-kept secrets and Durant has repeatedly been linked with a move to New York this summer.

The two-time NBA Finals MVP featured alongside Knicks' rookie forward Mitchell Robinson in a message the franchise sent to existing season ticket holders earlier this week.

In the message, which was only visible in the subscriber portal of the Knicks' website, the organization informed season ticket holders that the deadline to opt-in to renew their season tickets was February 28.

A number of season ticket holders found the choice of a picture featuring Durant slightly too obvious to be coincidental and screenshotted the message. As it turns out, it would appear the Knicks also realized the picture could easily be misinterpreted and swiftly removed it.

"Game action photos are used all the time for marketing purposes, but given everything going on, we took precaution of taking the photo down," the Knicks said in a statement, according to journalist Stefan Bondy at the New York Daily News.

"To be clear, it was one of several rotating photos on the website."

Durant has a player option for this summer and he is expected to explore his options in the free agent market. The Knicks are thought to be the frontrunners to sign the two-time NBA champion, should he opt to leave the Bay Area.

In New York, Durant would have the chance of playing on the world's biggest stage and he would be the cornerstone of the franchise, a luxury he has never been afforded in Golden State.

In a further indication that the Knicks will be aggressive in the offseason, they traded Kristaps Porzingis, Tim Hardaway Jr. and Courtney Lee to the Dallas Mavericks at the end of January.

By moving on the three contracts, New York has ensured it will have north of $70 million in salary cap space this coming summer, enough to accommodate two supermax contracts.

Durant isn't the only superstar to become available in the summer, with Jimmy Butler, Kawhi Leonard and Kyrie Irving all having the option to exit their contracts, while Kemba Walker will be an unrestricted free agent.

For all the rumors surrounding his future, however, Durant made clear last week he was only interested in playing basketball.

"I have got nothing to do with the Knicks, I don't know who traded [Kristap] Porzingis, I'm trying to play basketball," he said as he launched into an extraordinary rant in a post-game conference on Wednesday night.

"I come here every day and [you reporters] ask me about free agency, ask my teammates, my coaches and you rile up the fans about it. Let us play basketball. That's all I'm saying."