The New York Knicks are currently gearing up for what they hope to be a deep postseason run in 2023. However, for many outside the organization, expectations are that they could easily once again prove to be a one-and-done participant.
Though the likes of Julius Randle and Jalen Brunson have proven to be a quality dynamic duo that has helped position the club to attain a top-five seed in the standings come year’s end, the NBA playoffs are an entirely different beast and, in most cases, the more talent found on a roster the better your odds of advancing are.
Should the Knicks once again find themselves being ousted in the first round, there’s a rather strong possibility that Leon Rose and company will look to take that long-awaited swing at a top-billed talent this offseason.
Assuming this happens, Heavy Sports’ Jack Simone believes that making a move for impending free agent Kyrie Irving could be a move worth making, and, in a recent article, he outlined what a potential sign-and-trade between New York and the Dallas Mavericks could look like.
Knicks receive: Kyrie Irving
Mavericks receive: Mitchell Robinson, Obi Toppin, Evan Fournier, 2025 1st-Round Pick, 2027 1st-Round Pick
Irving, who is in the final season of his current four-year, $136 million deal, is amid perhaps one of the most polarizing campaigns of his illustrious NBA career which, frankly, is saying a lot.
Despite his phenomenal averages of 26.9 points, 5.5 assists, 5.1 rebounds, and 1.1 steals on 49.0% shooting from the floor and 37.7% shooting from distance, considering his well-documented off-the-court antics coupled with his overall unpredictability, Knicks fans could make a strong argument that the guard, though unbelievably talented, is not an ideal target for this team.
However, as far as Simone is concerned, his addition to Tom Thibodeau’s rotation could give them a much higher ceiling than they currently have.
Kyrie Irving Could Make Knicks a ‘Legitimate Force’
As previously noted, the Knicks have proven themselves to be a quality and highly competitive team in 2022-23.
With a record of 43-33, they look to be in the driver’s seat heading toward a top-five seed in the Eastern Conference standings and are on the cusp of clinching a playoff berth for the second time over the last three seasons.
However, even with their improvements in comparison to last season, it’s hard to make the claim that they would have a leg up against the majority of teams above them on the win-loss totem pole in a seven-game series.
With Kyrie Irving in tow, however, Simone seems to believe that New York could thrust itself into the conversation as being one of the elite teams out east alongside the likes of the Boston Celtics, Milwaukee Bucks, and Philadelphia 76ers.
“For the Knicks, bringing in Irving could make them a legitimate force in the East. A starting lineup of Irving, Jalen Brunson, RJ Barrett, Julius Randle, and Isaiah Hartenstein (or another center they sign) could compete with the best,” Simone wrote.
Simone would continue by noting that Irving has shown an openness to joining the Knicks in the past, with last summer being the most recent report of his interest in the team.
Despite all this, however, it’s still rather hard to believe that, even with all his talent and accomplishments, New York’s front office will be looking to add the controversial superstar to their ranks anytime soon.
Knicks Could Land Two Stars ‘If They Wanted To’
During a March 22 episode of the Hoops Collective podcast, ESPN’s NBA insider Brian Windhorst caught the attention of the vast majority of Knicks fans when he stated that New York could wind up trading for two star-level players in the near future “if they needed to,” all while holding onto their two key centerpieces in Jalen Brunson and Julius Randle along the way.
“In my view, they could trade for two star-level players…They can hold Jalen Brunson, they can hold Julius Randle and they could make two giant trades. Now, whether they can hold Brunson, Randle, and [RJ] Barrett and make two giant trades, that would depend on the players, but there is even a window that they can hold all three of those and make two giant trades,” Windhorst said.
Considering their bevy of quality young and promising players, their slew of draft picks over the next several seasons, and their cap space moving forward, Windhorst would go on to compare the Knicks’ current situation to the 2014 Cleveland Cavaliers team that went on to add both LeBron James and Kevin Love.