Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving are growing increasingly closer, and that could be good news for the New York Knicks.
As both NBA stars head toward free agency this coming summer, there have been reports linking both of them to the Knicks, and a new report from NBC Sports Boston hints that they could be making a joint decision on where to play next season.
The report noted that Durant and Irving are becoming very close friends, which fans saw when the two interacted during the 2019 NBA All-Star Weekend festivities, and that they may be looking to play together next season.
There is evidence that Durant and Irving are looking to continue their relationship on new teams next year. Many expect Durant to bolt the Golden State Warriors after finally breaking his championship drought, while Irving is expected to leave the Boston Celtics.
As ESPN’s Brian Windhorst said on his podcast, Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving have already been working out together and did most of their practices together during All-Star Weekend.
The New York Knicks also appear to be preparing for at least one superstar to join the team next year. The team recently unloaded talented big man Kristaps Porzingis to the Dallas Mavericks, sending away a player many expected to be the cornerstone of the franchise well into the future.
There could be other motivations for the trade, as Porzingis is now under investigation for rape for a 2018 incident that the Knicks reportedly knew about before trading him away, but it still has the effect of freeing up cap space for the team to offer two max-contract players in the offseason.
The Knicks were also reported to be in the running for LeBron James last season, but lost out to the Los Angeles Lakers. The Knicks may not want to let the next superstar get away so easily, so they might make aggressive pitches for both Durant and Irving.
Thanks in part to the trailblazing work of LeBron James, personal relationships between players are an increasingly important factor in free agency decisions. James took some criticism for deciding to bolt the Cleveland Cavaliers when he first hit free agency to join friends Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh on the Miami Heat, but that decision has been followed by a number of other players who chose their free agency destinations in part by which friends or former teammates they can join. It’s not yet clear if Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving will follow that example.