BOSTON – There's an old saying that one's availability can be one's best ability.
Irving's talent alone is reason enough for New York to want the Celtics guard in a Knicks uni next season.
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Ex-Knick and current Cleveland Cavaliers guard J.R. Smith, i.e., @teamswish on Instagram, added a little fuel to the fire with this comment on a post which pictured Irving in Knicks togs and asked what the chances of Kyrie landing in the Big Apple next summer were:
JR Smith has some thoughts on the Kyrie Irving rumors pic.twitter.com/aCc0OHYTLh
— Knicks Film School (@KnickFilmSchool) September 14, 2018
But when you start really examining the top free agents on the market next summer – Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard, Klay Thompson, DeMarcus Cousins, Jimmy Butler (if he opts out, as expected) – Irving remains the one that the Knicks have the best shot at landing.
And make no mistake about it.
To convince Irving to walk away from Boston, a team built to contend for a title this season and for many more to come, if he stays around, will be tough.
Even outside of Irving, New York is going to have to show growth in order to win over some of the NBA's top players to even seriously consider playing for New York.
And in time, it'll happen.
Knicks GM Scott Perry and the front office have already taken notable strides by starting to assemble players with versatility and athleticism, two key pillars for any team going through the kind of rebuild they are.
But they need to add a linchpin to the operation on the floor, a player whose presence alone elevates the franchise in a way that, at worst, makes them a playoff team.
Durant and Leonard could fill that void better than Irving.
The Knicks know this.
The entire NBA world knows this.
Still, they also know that, at this moment, the Knicks getting serious traction on either one of those guys will be a difficult, daunting uphill fight.
And landing Irving won't be a walk in the park, either.
But at least with him, they know right now that they have a shot – something they can't say with the same level of confidence about any other top-shelf superstar hitting free agency.
The Knicks' great interest in Irving will be a storyline to watch all season because it's true: they like him a lot.
But they also like Kevin Durant...and Kawhi Leonard...and Klay Thompson...and (pick a free agent that's a top 10-15 talent and they got love for him, too).
The bottom line is the Knicks have a roster that has potential, but is extremely thin when it comes to proven, elite-level talent.
And of the free agents-to-be that could come in and fill that void, at this moment most of them aren't realistic options.
Which brings us back to Irving.
He's a Jersey kid who grew up in the shadow of the Garden. Adding him would be a homecoming of sorts as well as a major upgrade at point guard and give them a proven superstar that can wake up the fan base in the city that never sleeps.
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Irving's talent more than anything, makes him a player of great interest to New York.
But it's his ability and potential availability, that sets him apart from any and all players New York might have some level of interest in pursuing.
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