Boston Celtics point guard Kyrie Irving could be the most sought-after free agent next summer, and the New York Knicks may be gearing up for a heavy push to land the five-time All-Star.
A. Sherrod Blakely of NBC Sports appeared on the Bulls Talk podcast (h/t Tim Daniels of Bleacher Report), and reported that the Knicks have Irving at the top of their free agent wish list.
"I've spoken with people within [the Knicks] organization," Blakely said. "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."
At this point, it'd be a shock if Irving didn't opt out of his contract after next season. Otherwise, Irving would take the player option of $21.3 million for the 2019-20 campaign.
Irving requested a trade from the Cleveland Cavaliers after the 2017 season, and he was sent to Boston in a massive blockbuster. Irving averaged 24.4 points, 3.8 rebounds and 5.1 assists per game in 2017-18, but he missed the final month of the regular season and the entire playoffs after undergoing a knee procedure.
The 2019 NBA free agent market could be one of the best in years. Irving, Kawhi Leonard, Jimmy Butler, Klay Thompson and Kevin Durant (unlikely he leaves the Golden State Warriors) ,are among the franchise superstars who hit the market next summer.
Irving is on a stacked Boston team that many consider to be the best in the Eastern Conference. Leaving the Celtics for a Knicks team that hasn't made the playoffs in five years sounds ludicrous at first.
The Knicks do have a nice rebuild going, however, led by big man Kristaps Porzingis. If they were to land Irving in free agency, perhaps New York would be able to recruit another superstar to join him.
We're still 10 months away from 2019 NBA free agency, but things are already getting interested on the Irving rumor front.