Kyrie Irving to the Knicks? Not so Fast
The New York Knicks have once again missed the NBA playoffs. With this season over for the team, New York has set its sights towards rebuilding in the offseason. Mass speculation has pointed at Kevin Durant heading to the Big Apple, but he isn’t expected to come alone. The rumor pool has speculated that Kyrie Irving will be heading to New York as well. While that may be music to the ears of Knicks fans everywhere, the real question is how likely is it to actually happen?
Let’s think of the present
Right now, Kyrie Irving is waiting for the second round to kick off. He led the way to a clean sweep of the Indiana Pacers. He has appeared every bit of a man of on a mission, and that mission is to win a championship. Seeing that he will be facing Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks, he is going to have put a lot more effort next series. In spite of his opponent, he and his team have a good shot at the title. There is a real possibility, as slight as it may be, that he could led his Celtics to the Finals.
If the Celtics win the championship, Kyrie will most likely be named the Finals MVP. He will be the man that brought Boston another championship after nearly a decade without seeing the Finals. After setting out to be the leader of his own team, Irving would prove to the League that he can win without LeBron James. It is hard to see him put in all that effort, just to walk away.
Two different situations
Irving’s situation is different than almost any other star that New York would chase. He requested a trade from Cleveland back in 2017 because he didn’t want to be in LeBron’s shadow. He didn’t choose the Celtics, but he has taken them as his own. In return, the city has put its trust in him. This is different than Kevin Durant, for example, who chose to go to the Golden State Warriors. However, despite all the success Durant brought to Golden State, it never quite became his team. The face of that franchise is still very much Stephen Curry. Thus, it makes sense for Durant to want to have a team of his own.
If both players come to New York, it would presumably be Durant’s team. The media would hail him, and not Irving, as the new “King of New York.” There is no logical reason why Irving would want to play second fiddle when he is already leading his own franchise. Now, there is always the possibility that Irving and the Celtics don’t escape the first round. While that may make the jump to New York more likely, it doesn’t make it automatic.
What if Kyrie doesn’t care about being the man anymore?
There is always the possibility that Irving just wants to win. Perhaps he’s matured to the point where being the “Man” on a team doesn’t matter to him. After all, he did notably call LeBron James earlier this season to apologize for not appreciating his leadership while he was still a member of the Cavaliers. Of course, this could always be the case.
Once again, though, it is not convincing to think that Irving is okay with being the second best. More importantly, why should he? He is an elite ball handler, shooter, and passer. His craftiness is to be admired and his clutch factor cannot be ignored. Irving has proven himself in the Finals and the regular season. He has the highest win share in the first round in all of NBA history. He is a top tier player who’s legacy deserved to be more than playing someone’s side kick. If anyone knows that, it’s Kyrie Irving. Thus, seeing Irving in New York next season may not be as guaranteed as fans think.
Ultimately Irving will do what is best for him. If that means staying in Boston, then that’s what he will do. However, if he feels like teaming up with Kevin Durant in New York is the best option, then next season will look very different for the Knicks. Only time will tell what Irving will do. Until then, fans can catch Irving against the Bucks as the second round unfolds in the next few days.