As the waiting game surrounding Cleveland Cavaliers PG Kyrie Irving continues, it seems that the 25-year-old now has a preferred landing spot with the New York Knicks. Irving had originally stated that he was interested in going to the San Antonio Spurs, Miami Heat, Minnesota Timberwolves, or the Knicks, per ESPN’s Brian Windhorst.
Now, according to ESPN’s Pablo Torre (h/t Clevis Murray), Irving reportedly “very badly” wants to join the Knicks over the other teams listed.
It’s an interesting rumor and one that probably has some legs. Not only would Irving get to be “the guy” with the Knicks, but he’d also be joining a team that would likely have Kristaps Porzingis and a few other young players.
Even more intriguing to Irving has to be the fact that the Knicks are a major market and he’d certainly be embraced in New York. If Irving does indeed want to be a “more focal point,” as Windhorst reported then the Knicks could be an ideal fit.
The Knicks roster isn’t currently loaded with stars, but they do have some pieces that could work with Irving running the show. Even more importantly, they don’t have a player even remotely similar to Irving who can completely dominate the ball and run the show at this point. Rookie point guard Frank Ntilikina has intriguing upside, but it’s unlikely that he’ll be ready to take on that role just yet.
Possibly the most appealing part for the Knicks about landing Irving, aside from his obvious star power, is what he could do for Porzingis’ game potentially. The 21-year-old is fresh off a very strong season in which he totaled 18.1 points, 7.2 rebounds and two blocks per game. The obvious hope with Derrick Rose in 2016-17 had been that the two could work together and open up the floor to get Porzingis more room to work with.
It’d be hard to argue that Irving wouldn’t be the perfect complement for Porzingis and vice versa. Obviously, time will tell if the Cavaliers can pull this deal off with Carmelo Anthony reportedly focused on going to the Houston Rockets, while also showing interest in the Oklahoma City Thunder. But if they do, the Knicks could wind up being a playoff team in 2017-18.