Kyrie Irving’s reported interest in the New York Knicks always was a bit puzzling.
Sure, Irving’s legend would grow leaps and bounds if he ever helped restore championship glory to the Knicks franchise. But that achievement probably is far-fetched, as the Knicks’ roster is surrounded by question marks and the team seemingly never can avoid chaos. Even if Kevin Durant joined Irving in New York, it’s far from a guarantee the Knicks would be a championship contender.
The Knicks’ inner-city rival always has seemed like the more logical landing spot for Irving, who reportedly is leaning toward signing with Brooklyn. During a free agency television special Tuesday night on ESPN, NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski explained why the Nets really have grown on Irving.
“The reason he’s gravitated over time toward Brooklyn is the infrastructure that’s in place there,” Wojnarowski said. “You look at the role players they have. If Kyrie Irving misses 10 games in a season or 12 or 15, he knows Spencer Dinwiddie comes in and starts and they’re not going to lose all those games. You look at the roster in New York. You know, listen, they would try to bring in some veterans if they signed him and KD. But there’s an infrastructure there (Brooklyn): Caris LeVert and Jarrett Allen and Joe Harris, players who have shown they can get a team to the playoffs. Management, coach there — those things have made it more attractive.”
It’s not unreasonable to believe Brooklyn soon could become one of the premier teams not just in the Eastern Conference, but the league as a whole. The Nets, who earned the sixth seed in the East this past season, effectively would be replacing D’Angelo Russell with Irving while returning the bulk of their roster. And if Brooklyn ever could reel in Durant as well, it could become a legitimate title contender as soon as the 2020-21 season when KD likely will return from injury.
There obviously are no safe bets in the NBA, as Irving learned the hard way over his two tumultuous seasons in Boston. But choosing the Nets over the Knicks seems like a much sounder decision for the star point guard.