A move by Boston Celtics All-Star guard Kyrie Irving after the upcoming season could bring new hope to a long-suffering NBA franchise, according to rumors reported by WEEI in Boston.
New York Knicks’ new Head Coach David Fizdale takes over a team that won a mere 29 games last season and, as Basketball-Reference records, has topped the 40-win mark only two times since the 2001-2002 season. And with no big moves on the table for the current offseason, the Knicks — who have won only two NBA titles in their 72-year history, and none since 1973 — appear poised for another season of futility in Fizdale’s debut.
But if Irving, who grew up in West Orange, New Jersey, just across the Hudson River from where the Knicks play their games, decides to join his “hometown” team, the 2019-2020 season could become landmark one for the Knicks.
“Irving won’t be a free agent until next summer, when he’s eligible to opt out of his contract,” wrote WEEI’s John Tomase. “And the New Jersey native is once again being linked to his hometown team.”
Irving has been “linked” to a Knicks move for the past month, and as The Inquisitr reported, even when asked directly about the possibility, Irving was non-committal, saying only, “That time will arise and when it does, I think I’ll have a better, clear, concise answer for a lot of people that are going to ask.”
The latest rumor of an Irving move to the Knicks comes via ESPN.com basketball correspondent Ian Begley, who was cited in the site’s report Wednesday on Fizdale’s hope for “big moves” by his new team in next year’s NBA offseason.
“According to ESPN’s Chris Haynes, the Knicks were among the teams Irving wanted to be traded to last summer. Several executives expect Irving to give the Knicks consideration next summer if he tests free agency, per ESPN’s Ian Begley,” the ESPN.com report claimed. “It’s worth noting that the Knicks need to shed significant salary to put themselves in position to sign Irving or any other max player.”
The Celtics made a remarkable run all the way to Game Seven of the NBA Eastern Conference Finals (as Inquisitr covered) in 2018 despite missing Irving, who sat out the entire playoffs with a knee injury. Nor did Boston have their other major offseason pickup, forward Gordon Hayward, who injured his ankle so severely in the season opener that he missed the entire 2017-2018 campaign.
With the addition of those two stars, plus Celtics first-round draft pick Robert Williams — expected to make a major contribution once he, as Deadspin reports, straightens out some attitude issues — Boston will likely enter the season as a favorite not only to reach the NBA Finals, but to be in that position for several years to come.
The Knicks offer no such promise, despite Fizdale’s optimism about the club’s supposedly dramatic personnel revamp after the upcoming season.
“Making room for Irving — or any big-name free agent — won’t be easy for the Knicks, who need to shed significant salary cap space between now and next summer. But if one of the best point guards in the game is on the market, expect them to launch a full pursuit,” wrote Darren Hartwell of the Boston sports site NESN.com.