The New York Knicks opened up salary cap space Thursday by trading Kristaps Porzingis to the Dallas Mavericks. The presumption is they’ll try to lure two big-name free agents to the Big Apple this offseason.
But who specifically will the Knicks target in free agency?
Stephen A. Smith believes New York has a “real good chance” of landing Kyrie Irving, who long has been linked to the Knicks in rumors despite indicating before the season he plans to re-sign with the Boston Celtics this summer.
“I think they have a real good chance of getting Kyrie Irving, because if you listen to his camp, although they’ll say that he’s happy in Boston, you listen to people outside and they say, ‘No, that’s not the case. That’s not the scuttlebutt around the NBA. Kyrie Irving would be looking to leave Boston,’ ” Smith explained Friday on ESPN’s “Get Up!” of the Knicks’ chances of landing Irving. “Obviously Boston was talking about trying to make a trade for Anthony Davis. Well, Anthony Davis ain’t that interested in going to Boston if Kyrie Irving isn’t there, so you’ve got that situation.”
Irving leaving the Celtics once seemed unlikely given his stated desire to remain in Boston. He since has backed off that commitment, though, and there now are plenty of rumblings the All-Star point guard could take his talents elsewhere, especially if the New Orleans Pelicans trade Anthony Davis somewhere other than Boston. (Davis reportedly wants to play for the Los Angeles Lakers but also views the Knicks as a preferred landing spot. He reportedly views Boston as a rental option.)
Smith, who also wonders whether the Celtics will want to commit max dollars to Irving, speculates that Kevin Durant could leave the Golden State Warriors if they win another title, perhaps paving the way for him to join the Knicks, as well.