Ian Begley, SNY.tv | Twitter |
Kyrie Irving didn't give a direct answer when he was asked late Wednesday night about the possibility of re-signing with the Celtics.
"For me, it's just moving on to the next thing and seeing where it ends up," Irving told reporters after the Celtics' series-ending loss to Milwaukee on Wednesday.
That's an encouraging sign for those who hope to see Irving at Madison Square Garden next season.
At the beginning of the year, Irving pledged to re-sign with Boston. But that was before this trainwreck of a season, before Irving and the Celtics fell well short of their championship expectations. It would surprise no one now if he decided to sign elsewhere this summer - or if Boston decided against offering him a five-year, $190 million max contract.
If Irving does decide to leave, the Knicks will get significant consideration.
Irving acknowledged back in October - shortly after he pledged to re-sign with Boston - that the Knicks were one of the teams he considered when thinking about free agency.
"Just being from Jersey and, obviously, envisioning myself as a free agent and ultimately taking a meeting and playing for (Knicks head coach David Fizdale) and a great young core that they have here," Irving said then. "Thinking about playing with (Kristaps Porzingis). That was a big thing before I made my decision just to ... plan on re-signing back with Boston. But yeah of course New York was a strong consideration."
Obviously, Porzingis is no longer here. But the New York/New Jersey area is still home for Irving, and the Knicks have enough cap space for two max players.
Kevin Durant, who suffered a calf strain in Game 5 of the Rockets-Warriors series, is New York's top target. Some opposing executives believe, speculatively, that Durant can name the player he wants to play with and the Knicks will seek to sign that player.
If it's Irving, New York will have enough room to offer him a four-year, $141 million max contract. Irving will have other suitors, including the Los Angeles Lakers. Some opposing executives also think Irving will strongly consider the Brooklyn Nets. So even if Irving decides to leave Boston, the Knicks will have competition for him.
It's also worth noting here that some in the Knicks organization are high on fellow free agent point guard Kemba Walker, sources say. But that probably doesn't matter if Durant tells the Knicks that he'll sign with them, and that he wants to play with Irving.
The Knicks, of course, will also have competition for Durant if he decides against re-signing with Golden State. The Los Angeles Clippers and Nets will be able to present strong cases to the former MVP.
Irving's decision also bears watching because it will likely impact how Boston proceeds in any Anthony Davis trade talks. If the Celtics don't have a long-term commitment from Irving, will they be aggressive in their pursuit of Davis? If they aren't, that takes one of the top Davis suitors out of the running, which would seemingly benefit the Knicks.
YOUNG KNICKS TO WORK OUT WITH ASSISTANT COACHES
The Knicks plan to send their assistants on the road to work with first-year players Allonzo Trier, Mitchell Robinson and young guard Dennis Smith Jr. in the coming days, SNY sources say. Kevin Knox has been working with head coach David Fizdale and assistant Caleb Kanales. There are plans for the young Knicks to convene as a group with coaches in a locale outside of New York for more workouts, sources say.
New York isn't the only team that sends its assistant coaches to work with players, but the organization has talked often about committing to developing its young players. This seems to be an extension of that.
It's also interesting because some of the young players who have workouts scheduled with coaches would be involved in trade packages if New York makes a run at trading for Davis. Fizdale said that he plans to have his young players attend games during the conference finals with coaches to get a feel for the playoff atmosphere.
NCAA AGENT CERTIFIFCATION
Agents learned that the stipulations for representatives who want to become NCAA certified include having a bachelor's degree and three years of NBPA certification. It will be interesting to see if the NCAA makes exceptions to the rule about having a degree in the same way that the NBPA has.
Agents only need NCAA certification if they are representing underclassmen who are testing the waters and prefer to have the option to return to school. College players who aren't interested in preserving their eligibility can sign with agents who are not NCAA certified. Agents will also have to pay a fee for NCAA certification.