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Sunday at 6 p.m. is the official beginning for the 2019-20 NBA season. It is the most highly anticipated summer of free agency since 2010, when LeBron James left the Cleveland Cavaliers and Chris Bosh decided to forgo re-signing with the Toronto Raptors to join Dwayne Wade in Miami and form a so-called super team with the Heat.

The collaboration produced four straight Finals appearances from 2011 to 2014 and two titles. Kevin Durant signing with the Warriors in the summer of 2016 has extended that franchise’s run of winning five consecutive Western Conference championships and three NBA titles.

Now the New York Knicks, Los Angeles Lakers and Brooklyn Nets among other teams are seeking to build championship cores by bringing together some of the league’s top players. The Lakers have already acquired Anthony Davis from the Pelicans via a trade and may be endeavoring to add one more All-Star to the fold.

The Nets are reportedly the front runners to sign Kyrie Irving and have salary cap space for another max player, with conjecture it could be Kevin Durant. If that indeed becomes the scenario, it would be a crushing development for the Knicks, who for much of this past season strongly believed their prospects of landing both players were high.

Until contracts are officially signed, which cannot transpire until after July 6, the Knicks still have a puncher’s chance of acquiring Durant and Irving, but that possibility appears remote. Furthermore, there seems to be limited mutual interest between the Knicks and other high level free agents such as Kemba Walker, Kawhi Leonard, Klay Thompson, Jimmy Butler and Al Horford as no credible reports have the various parties connected.

But that’s not an immutable indicator there hasn’t been communication between Knicks president Steve Mills, general manager Scott Perry and the aforementioned players’ representatives. In the arms race to obtain some of the world’s best players, all’s fair in love and war, and some teams figuratively have adopted the mantra “By any means necessary” and will do what’s within the bounds of the NBA Collective Bargaining Agreement—others go beyond the rules—to attain their objectives.

Unpredictability is inherent in the free-agency game. Yet there is certainty in knowing this summer’s crop of free agents will alter—how much is yet to be determined—the league’s balance of power.