With the New York Knicks on the hunt for a franchise point guard, the salary dump of Kemba Walker got them on the right path as they work to clear cap space for Jalen Brunson.
According to Bleacher Report’s Jake Fischer, New York is looking to clear about $25 million total to grab Brunson outright in free agency. However, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst believes the Knicks could be looking at a different option.
With Kyrie Irving and the Brooklyn Nets at an impasse according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania, the door seems to be open for a team to come in and make a move.
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski revealed a list of teams Irving would consider going to if he leaves Brooklyn, and he does have the Knicks as an option.
Speaking on the June 24 episode of Get Up, Windhorst notes the Knicks are a team that’s making moves, and it might not be entirely for Brunson.
Knicks Trying to Land Irving?
It’s been well reported that New York is working to land Brunson in free agency, but that was before Irving potentially became an option. Windhorst lays out the scenario that could land the superstar.
“The Knicks, as we sit here today, have about $20 million in salary cap space they didn’t have yesterday, he says. “They have eight first-round draft picks they are able to trade and use for players.”
Coupled with the sheer number of first-rounders the team has, they also have some young talent they could dangle in a trade such as RJ Barrett, Immanuel Quickley, and Obi Toppin. Windhorst does reiterate that Brunson is the team’s top priority.
“We believe their number one option is Jalen Brunson,” he says as he mentions Brunson’s father is a coach within the organization, and Knicks president Leon Rose’s son is one of Brunson’s agents. “I promise you the Knicks are more aware of Jalen Brunson’s intentions than any team in free agency.”
He notes this because the team should be aware of whether or not they are a real option, so the flurry of draft night moves might mean more than New York is letting on. Windhorst hypothesizes this could all be a play for disgruntled Nets guard Kyrie Irving.
“Are they clearing this cap space because Kyrie Irving has become potentially available?” he asks. “I would not prioritize Kyrie Irving if I were the Knicks, and I’m not saying the Knicks are doing that. When you look at the moves last night, Kyrie Irving went from a ‘well maybe, I guess we can talk about it’ to a viable option if they want to go that route. Kyrie now has an option if he wants to opt out of his contract, the Knicks, without too much work, could open up cap space to sign him.”
Could It Really Happen?
What’s interesting about the list of teams (Knicks, Sixers, Lakers, Clippers, Heat, Sixers, Mavericks) is that all of them are potential championship contenders except the Knicks.
This could potentially mean Irving is willing to be patient as the team builds a contender around him, or he thinks the Knicks are further along than they might be.
Windhorst notes this is the first team to actually make moves to possibly land Irving.
“The big development in the Kyrie Irving sweepstakes yesterday wasn’t this list that Woj got,” he continued. “It was very good reporting, and certainly, it was fascinating. A team started making moves that could potentially get Kyrie Irving in New York with that rivalry with the Nets.”
This doesn’t mean it’s set in stone that the Knicks will acquire Irving, but it does make them a bit closer if they want to consider it.