The New York Knicks have been very bad for a long time, despite playing in one of the NBA’s biggest markets and in one of the most famous arenas in all of sports. They haven’t made the playoffs since 2013 and haven’t advanced passed the second round since 2000. That’s a lot of failure!
The Knicks are trying desperately to right the ship, and seem to finally be heading in the right direction after telling president Phil Jackson and his triangle offense to take a hike, and shipping Carmelo Anthony to Oklahoma City in 2017. Now they have a new head coach in David Fizdale and an emerging superstar in Kristaps Porzingis (assuming he can fully recover from tearing his ACL in early 2018).
To keep the forward progress going, the Knickerbockers are reportedly going to make a strong push to sign upcoming free agent point guard Kyrie Irving next summer. According to A. Sherrod Blakely from NBC, Irving is their number one priority.
“I’ve spoken with people within (the Knicks) organization,” Blakely said on the Bulls Talk Podcast. “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 (next) summer, Kyrie would be their first, second, third, and fourth choice.”
The Knicks have been planning their existing contracts around landing a big name free agent, and could have as much as $41 million in cap space to entice some of the best players in the league to come to the Big Apple. Kevin Durant, Jimmy Butler, and Kawhi Leonard are also expected to be out of contract at the end of the 2018-19 season.
Irving grew up in the area, spending much of his young life in New Jersey. He was drafted by the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2011 and won an NBA championship in 2016 alongside LeBron James. A battle of egos led to Irving being traded to the Boston Celtics in 2017. Unfortunately, a knee injury ruled him out of the final few weeks of the regular season and the entire playoff run. The Celtics made it to the Eastern Conference Finals, but were eliminated in seven games by Lebron and the Cavs.