Boston Celtics point guard Kyrie Irving is expected to be one of the most coveted superstars in the 2019 NBA free agency. After declining to sign a contract extension with the Celtics, Irving plans to exercise his player option to become an unrestricted free agent next summer.
Kyrie Irving has already expressed his desire to stay with the Celtics, but before he made the decision, the All-Star point guard admitted that he gave his hometown team, the New York Knicks, a “strong consideration” to be his next free agency destination, according to Ian Begley of ESPN.
“‘I mean, every team was under consideration, but obviously New York held a special place for me,’ Irving said after the Celtics’ 103-101 win over the Knicks on Saturday night. ‘Just being from (New) Jersey and, obviously, envisioning myself as a free agent and ultimately taking a meeting and playing for (Knicks head coach David Fizdale) and a great young core that they have here. Thinking about playing with (Kristaps Porzingis). That was a big thing before I made my decision just to… plan on re-signing back with Boston. But yeah of course New York was a strong consideration.'”
The potential acquisition of Kyrie Irving will undeniably turn the Knicks from a rebuilding team to a legitimate playoff contender in the Eastern Conference. Irving is currently in his prime, and he definitely won’t have a hard time building a good chemistry with the face of the franchise, Kristaps Porzingis. Lots of things can still happen between now and the 2019 NBA free agency, but as of now, it seems like Irving has already envisioned himself staying long-term in Boston.
If the Knicks fail to steal Kyrie Irving from the Celtics, they still plan on chasing other big names that will be available on the market next summer. Aside from Irving, the 2019 NBA free agency will also feature other NBA superstars like Kawhi Leonard, Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson, Jimmy Butler, Kemba Walker, DeMarcus Cousins, and DeAndre Jordan.
After parting ways with Joakim Noah, the Knicks are projected to have $31 million in salary cap space next offseason. The max contract for players with seven to nine years of service is $32.7 million, while for those with 10-plus years is $38.15 million. To strengthen their chance of acquiring a superstar in the 2019 NBA free agency, the Knicks will be needing to complete another transaction to create enough salary cap space to give a maximum contract. As of now, the Knicks are focused on developing their young core while waiting for the return of Kristaps Porzingis from injury.