The departure of Kyrie Irving from the Boston Celtics is currently one of the most talked about topics in the league. Earlier in the 2018-19 NBA season, Irving expressed his desire to stay long-term in Boston, but after they went through a series of ups and downs, the All-Star point guard recently had a change of heart and is no longer committed to re-sign with the Celtics. The Celtics remain as a top-eight team in the Eastern Conference, but they have struggled to consistently win games despite having one of the most talented rosters in the NBA.
Kyrie Irving is still very optimistic about the Celtics’ playoff chances, but if they fail to at least enter the Eastern Conference Finals, he is expected to entertain offers from other NBA teams in the 2019 NBA free agency. According to Dan Favale of Bleacher Report, the New York Knicks have emerged as the “Celtics’ biggest threat” in signing Irving next summer.
“The Knicks loom as the Celtics’ biggest threat. They have access to two max slots, and Irving put them on his wish list when orchestrating his exit from the Cleveland Cavaliers.”
The Knicks are still in the middle of the rebuilding process and are currently focused on developing their young players and acquiring a lottery pick in the 2019 NBA Draft. However, the Knicks don’t intend to stay at the bottom for long, as they are planning to make major moves in the 2019 NBA offseason. After dumping the lucrative contracts of Tim Hardaway Jr. and Courtney Lee to the Dallas Mavericks before the February NBA trade deadline, the Knicks are set to have enough salary cap space to sign two max free agents in the summer of 2019.
Celtics struggling? Kyrie Irving isn't worried. https://t.co/vpSI2Ft9EJ
— USA TODAY Sports (@usatodaysports) February 24, 2019
Aside from Kyrie Irving, another superstar who is currently being linked to the Knicks is Kevin Durant of the Golden State Warriors. Durant has a player option on his contract that will enable him to become an unrestricted free agent next summer. Though he hasn’t shown any indication that he will be leaving Golden State, Durant also didn’t give the Warriors any assurance that he intends to stay beyond the 2018-19 NBA season.
Since trading Kristaps Porzingis to the Mavericks, rumors and speculation have started to circulate that Kevin Durant will be on the top of the list of the Knicks’ free agent targets next July. The Knicks are expecting that their decision to keep DeAndre Jordan for the remainder of the 2019 NBA season will help convince his close pal Durant to consider New York as his new home next season.
The successful acquisition of Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant will undeniably turn the Knicks from a rebuilding team to a legitimate playoff contender in the Eastern Conference. In order to have a real chance of contending for the NBA championship, the Knicks may also consider engaging in a blockbuster deal to acquire a third superstar next summer.