Kyrie Irving Is Reportedly New York's 'First, Second, Third, and Fourth Choice' in Free Agency

The Knicks are going to dreadful again in the 2018-19 season, with franchise cornerstone Kristaps Porzingis likely out for a huge swath of the season. But they've got high hopes in 2019, that reportedly center around Uncle Drew calling MSG home.

Kyrie Irving
Image via Getty/Jim McIsaac
Kyrie Irving

The Knicks have been less than impressive for most of the last four years, having failed to win more than 32 games in a season during that span. Their fans have relied on intermittent stretches of excitement from franchise shooting center, Kristaps Porzingis, and the public passive aggressiveness between Carmelo Anthony and Phil Jackson. But Melo is in Houston, the Zen Master is reading dog-eared Herman Hesse paperbacks in Wyoming, and KP tore his left ACL in February. However, Uncle Drew might soon be hocking Pepsi near West 4's cage court.

A. Sherrod Blakely of NBC Sports Boston revealed on the recent Bulls Talk podcast the Knicks not only have their eyes on Kyrie Irving in the summer of 2019, but he's the cornerstone of their offseason plans:

 I can tell you right now, the New York Knicks, he is their No. 1 target. I’ve spoken with people within that organization. They have made it absolutely crystal clear to me that, if they had their pick of guys that are going to be in the free agent market this summer, Kyrie would be their first, second, third and fourth choice.

Well then—don't tell Kevin Durant New York's solitary focus will be Irving; he's got a lot of reasons to come to the Big Apple, but KD and 'Rie aren't the only big-name free agents coming on the market next July.

Kawhi Leonard will be a free agent after his first season north of the boarder; Jimmy Butler will be free to sign away from whatever the hell the Timberwolves have become; KD's own Warriors teammates, Klay Thompson and DeMarcus Cousins, will be available, too. Also on the market are Marc Gasol, who can opt out in Memphis, and Kyrie's teammate in Boston, Al Horford. Kemba Walker, Paul Millsap, and Khris Middleton are all intriguing players who the Knicks may be able to sign next summer. 

New York's cap situation right now is dependent on Joakim Noah and whether they're going to use the stretch provision on him, similar to what the Lakers did with Luol Deng. But even with the creaky Noah's ridiculous contract still on the books, the Knicks have enough room for one max deal, but not two. They'll need to stretch Noah and figure out a way to unload Courtney Lee and Tim Hardaway Jr. if they wanna lock up two max players next summer, like Irving and Jimmy Butler, another intriguing target.

However, Irving is a once-in-a-generation offensive talent, and the Celtics are deep enough they can afford to let him walk, or work out a sign-and-trade. Plus, this isn't the only speculation he's keen to join the orange and blue, and he did go out of his way to keep friendly with New York's exciting 2018 rookie, Colin Sexton.

It's all basically conjecture at this point, though Blakely is more plugged in the average fan. 

Latest in Sports