When Kyrie Irving requested a trade from the Cavaliers last offseason, the Knicks were one of the teams he preferred to be sent to.
Of course, the Knicks were never a realistic landing spot due to their lack of assets, especially with Danny Ainge and the Celtics in on the bidding. So, he was sent to Boston for Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic and Brooklyn's 2019 draft pick.
But Irving's contract is up after next season and the Celtics are genuinely concerned that he might bolt in free agency, according to Chris Mannix of Yahoo Sports. The Knicks are a realistic destination.
"I think they're scared," Mannix said on his podcast. "I think they're scared and should be scared to some degree of Kyrie Irving walking in 2019. I know he had a great year, but you know there are people in Cleveland that will tell you that the Knicks should be considered a real threat for Kyrie Irving. Because Kyrie had talked about it, about playing with the Knicks with some players in that Cleveland locker room from what I was told."
With the Celtics, he averaged 24.4 points and 5.1 assists per game in 60 games before his season ended with knee surgery. Knicks GM Scott Perry has already expressed he's focusing more on free agency next year when the team will have more cap space and flexibility.
In February, Irving told Kristaps Porzingis that he would love to play with a big like him.
"I told him I would love to play with a big like you, man, when we played them in the beginning of the season when he came to Boston,'' Irving said, via NY Post. "He's so versatile. So I wish him nothing but the best and hope he comes back even stronger."
Irving grew up in West Orange, New Jersey, a short distance from New York City and Madison Square Garden.