GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- The Knicks drafted Kentucky's Kevin Knox with an eye toward making the franchise "attractive" to free agents in 2019 -- most notably New Jersey native Kyrie Irving.
The Knicks' brass hopes that a young core of the 18-year-old Knox along with Kristaps Porzingis, Frank Ntilikina, and other promising pieces will attract free agents like Irving a year from now.
"Yeah, our goal is to make this an attractive place," Knicks President Steve Mills said when I asked him about potential free agents.
Irving said this month that he won't be signing an extension with Boston this offseason, which means he will become an unrestricted free agent after the 2018-19 season, per the Daily News' Stefan Bondy.
"Contractually, financially, it just doesn't make any sense (to sign an extension with the Celtics)," Irving told reporters.
During the process of requesting a trade from the Cavaliers following the 2016-17 season, the Knicks were among the four teams he requested.
Irving is from Montclair, N.J., and attended St. Patrick High School in Elizabeth, N.J., where he played for legendary coach Kevin Boyle. His father, Drederick, is a Bronx native.
The 26-year-old Irving, who had to undergo season-ending knee surgery last season, does have a player option for the 2019-2020 season that he will likely decline.
Mills said the entire Knicks' draft process has been geared around building for the future, with the ultimate goal of making the franchise more enticing to young players -- and free agents.
"This was our first opportunity from the time we started meeting with guys in Chicago," Mills said. "When we sit and talk with players, we want them to sort of get a really good feeling about directionally where we're going, who we are as people, what we see for this organization and I think we did a good job of that in terms of making the players feel comfortable in who we are and where we're going.
"And that will carry over into how free agents begin to feel about us organizationally and about our team and our coach and the entire group we've put together."
Knicks fans may have to endure "The Process" for one more year, especially with Porzingis injured. But by 2019 they could be ready to turn it around -- a la the Sixers -- with a healthy Porzingis, a more experienced Knox, and potentially, a big-time free agent like Irving.
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