Kyrie Irving reportedly is keen on taking his talents to the Big Apple, but not to the team most expect.
It seemingly has been presented as a foregone conclusion at times this spring that Irving will sign with the New York Knicks in free agency. In fact, Stephen A. Smith previously put the likelihood of Irving joining the Knicks at 95 percent.
Well, Smith now is shifting gears, and it appears the Knicks’ inner-city rival is the frontrunner for Irving’s services.
“I’m a New York Knick fan and I’ve been on the record, as has most people, recognizing the fact that it is likely that KD (Kevin Durant) after this season would depart for New York City with one Kyrie Irving,” Smith said Tuesday on ESPN’s “First Take.” Matter of fact, I’ve been on the record saying — which is what I was told at the time — 95 percent possibility, but leave the five-percent window open because it’s KD and he could always change his mind. Well, over the last several hours, I have learned that Kyrie Irving has given every indication to the Brooklyn Nets that that’s where he wants to go, not the New York Knicks.”
Smith also highlighted the potential chain reaction should Irving sign with the Nets.
“…Kyrie Irving — if indeed it is true and we don’t know that because we still got 30 days — if he decides to go to Brooklyn, KD ain’t interested in going to Brooklyn,” Smith said. “And as a result, the belief is that KD will either go to New York without him (Irving), convince him to come to New York or settle for somebody like a Kemba Walker. Or KD may decide to stay in Golden State.”
Irving to the Nets has gained quite a bit of steam in recent weeks. There’s reportedly mutual interest between the sides, and Irving, of course, grew up as a Nets fan in West Orange, N.J. Brooklyn, which earned the sixth seed in the Eastern Conference this season, seems to be a legitimate superstar away from being a championship contender, and Irving could fill that void in spades.
The Nets will have to fend off more than just the Knicks in order to acquire Irving, though. The Los Angeles Lakers reportedly will make a run at the six-time All-Star, and Irving allegedly has become “more open” to the idea of reuniting with LeBron James.