The New York Knicks may have failed to reach the postseason for the sixth consecutive year but when the 2018-19 NBA season is over, they are planning to make major moves that could bring them back to title contention. After trading the lucrative contracts of Tim Hardaway Jr. and Courtney Lee to the Dallas Mavericks before the February NBA trade deadline, the Knicks opened up enough salary cap space to chase two max free agents in the 2019 NBA offseason.
As of now, Boston Celtics point guard Kyrie Irving and Golden State Warriors small forward Kevin Durant emerged as the Knicks’ top targets in the 2019 NBA free agency. If Irving decides to return to the Celtics, Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer revealed that the Knicks may consider pairing Durant with Kemba Walker of the Charlotte Hornets.
“If Kyrie Irving re-signs with the Celtics, then Walker could be New York’s second option to pair with Kevin Durant, who is expected to strongly consider joining the Knicks. New York is home for Walker, who grew up in the Bronx, went to high school in Harlem, and attended college just 100 miles away at UConn. It would be only fitting if Walker takes his talents to Madison Square Garden for the next chapter of his career.”
The Hornets have won 4 games in a row in epic fashion as they push for the 8-seed in the East.
Far more than just a playoff spot is at stake for Kemba Walker and the Hornets, and the results of the race could impact the whole NBA.
— Kevin O'Connor (@KevinOConnorNBA) March 27, 2019
Before the 2018-19 NBA season started, Kemba Walker decided to address the rumors about his potential departure from Charlotte, saying that he intends to finish his NBA career as a Hornet. However, with the Hornets set to suffer another disappointing season, Walker may have started to realize that it will be best for him to take his talent somewhere else. Since the 2018 NBA offseason, Walker has been frequently linked to the Knicks.
Kemba Walker may not be as good as Kyrie Irving, but he will still be an incredible addition to the Knicks. This season, the 28-year-old point guard is averaging 25.2 points, 4.5 rebounds, 5.9 assists, and 1.3 steals on 42.7 percent shooting from the field and 35.4 percent shooting from beyond the arc. Pairing him with Kevin Durant will make the Knicks a legitimate playoff contender in the Eastern Conference.
Aside from having the salary cap space to chase the likes of Kevin Durant and Kemba Walker in free agency, the Knicks also have a plethora of trade assets to engage in a blockbuster deal next summer. If they land the No. 1 pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, the Knicks could use it as the main trade chip to acquire Anthony Davis from the New Orleans Pelicans via trade.