Folks are already looking forward to the summer of 2019 when top players like Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving could become available in free agency.
Now that all of the big-name free agents from this offseason have signed, it’s no surprise we’re hearing rumors about Irving and Durant. Earlier today, we covered Chris Mannix discussing the possibility that Durant may re-join the Oklahoma City Thunder. We’ve also touched on Irving potentially teaming up with his longtime friend Jimmy Butler in the Eastern Conference.
New York big man Enes Kanter believes that all three might be interested in joining the Knicks next year.
According to Marc Stein, however, neither Irving nor Durant are particularly interested in playing for the New York Knicks (via New York Times):
“Knicks fans dreaming of a Durant signing next summer are hereby forewarned: It’s not inconceivable that he may actually choose to make Madison Square Garden home someday, but it’s extremely difficult to imagine the Silicon Valley-loving Durant doing so without playing at least one season in the Warriors’ new Chase Center palace in San Francisco, which doesn’t open until the 2019-20 campaign … Kyrie Irving’s intentions are not at all clear at this point. There have been no firm indications from Irving or his camp that the All-Star guard is eyeing an exit from Boston next summer or that he’s angling to go to New York — as is often speculated.”
Stein mentioned that there are “credible rumblings” that the Brooklyn Nets and the Knicks both plan to pursue Irving if he becomes a free agent.
But it does not appear that Irving is trying to pave his own way to Madison Square Garden. Stein also wrote that it’s worth monitoring whether the Celtics decide to trade Irving before he becomes a free agent, in order to get something in return for him (if they feel he’s going to walk).
Where there’s smoke in the NBA, there’s often fire. But in this case, it may be time to cool the jets a little bit when wondering if Irving and Durant could join Kristaps Porzingis on the Knicks. Irving, who does have ties to the greater New York area, is seen as the more unpredictable variable. Plus, as we learned from Paul George, things change over the course of a year.