The New York Knicks have been inept and irrelevant for some time now. But it’s still New York we’re talking about here. In other words, it’s a sweet free agent destination (in theory). Though right now, it’s tough to say who the Knicks can actually convince to play there. They haven’t seen the playoffs since 2012-13. That’s also when their last winning season occurred. So can they really land Kyrie Irving?
They sure think so. And if nothing else, they’re at least going to try really hard to do so. If he opts out of his contract after next season, Irving will be their No. 1 target, reports NBC’s A. Sherrod Blakely.
Next summer, the Knicks could have roughly $42 million in cap space to play with. Plus, Irving isn’t the only big name expected to hit the open market. There’s also Kevin Durant (Warriors), Jimmy Butler (Timberwolves) and Kawhi Leonard (Raptors). Again, though, we assume Irving will want to play for a contender. That said, he did grow up just 20 miles from Manhattan (in West Orange, NJ). So in a way, he’d be home.
The Knicks weren’t going to be all that competitive last season anyway, but a season-ending knee injury suffered by Kristaps Porziņģis took just about every ounce of fun out of the team for good. They went on to finish 29-53, and haven’t won more than 37 games since 2012-13. Then there’s the Boston Celtics.
A 55-27 mark saw them finish second out East behind the 59-win Toronto Raptors. But they did come within a game of playing in the NBA Finals. Instead, Cleveland’s LeBron James did just enough to break their hearts. Now that he’s in L.A., though, Boston will look to take advantage. Remember, they had Gordon Hayward for all of five minutes last season. Irving didn’t even suit up during the postseason. Jayson Tatum had a good rookie season but an even better postseason. Jaylen Brown took a giant leap forward in his second season.
In other words, the Celtics are ready to go. They could be a championship contender for the next several years with the way their roster is set up.
During his lone season in Boston, Irving put up 24.4 points, 5.1 assists and 3.8 rebounds per game while shooting a career-best 49.1 percent from the field.