There have rumors for months that Kyrie Irving will consider coming to New York when he opts out of his contract this summer. But Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News suggests the Knicks may not be his destination.
Bondy writes that “some sources around the league” believe Brooklyn would be Irving’s preferred choice and cites a recent NBA TV interview by former Cavaliers GM David Griffin, who spent time with Irving in Cleveland.
“I think Brooklyn is the fit that’s better for him in terms of his mindset,” Griffin said. “I think he likes what they’ve done there, culturally.”
The Nets have a huge head start if Irving is looking for an instant contender. Brooklyn is fighting for a playoff spot at 38-38, while the Knicks are limping toward the finish line with a league-worst 14-61 record.
Brooklyn will have enough cap space to extend a max offer to Irving, while the Knicks will be able to offer two max contracts and are hoping to team Irving up with another elite free agent such as Kevin Durant. However, signing Irving would probably mean the Nets will have to part with point guard D’Angelo Russell, who will be a restricted free agent after a breakout season.
Irving promised Celtics fans in October that he would re-sign with the team. However, as losses piled up, speculation has increased that he may go back on that pledge. The Celtics’ performance in the playoffs could go a long way toward determining whether Irving will return to Boston or take his talents elsewhere.