Ian Begley, SNY.tv | Twitter |
Rod Strickland played in the NBA for 17 years. He's coached Division I college basketball and is currently the program manager of the NBA G League's professional path.
Strickland is also Kyrie Irving's godfather. So he has a unique perspective when it comes to Irving's season, which ended on Wednesday in a second-round loss to the Bucks.
"Well obviously it was disappointing to finish up the way they finished up. Proud of him, had a great year. Now it's back to the drawing board," Strickland said in an interview with SNY Thursday when asked about Irving's season at an event unveiling for Budweiser's NBA Draft Lottery promotion. "As far as his future, I want him to go wherever or stay wherever he feels comfortable and he's happy. That's what this is all about. Being happy and being competitive. He's done a lot things in his short time in the NBA. Twenty-seven years old, he's accomplished a lot of things. And so now I just hope that he finds a place, whether it's Boston or whether it's somewhere else, that he's having fun and he's doing his thing."
Irving will test free agency this summer after a season in which he and the Celtics failed to reach the championship expectations that surrounded the team.
Irving averaged 23.8 points and 6.9 assists while shooting 40 percent from beyond the arc in the regular season. But he struggled with his shot in the Celtics' final four playoff games - all losses - against Milwaukee. Irving, who was far from the only reason the Celtics lost to the Bucks, shot 30 percent from the floor (18.5 percent from beyond the arc) in those games.
The Celtics can offer Irving a five-year, $190 million contract. Other teams - including the Knicks, one of Irving's suitors - can offer the point guard a four-year, $141 million deal.
Strickland, on hand to promote Budweiser's Lottery-themed beer giveaway Thursday, smiled when he was asked if he'd advise Irving during his free agency.
"He has a great father, one of my best friends (Drederick Irving). So he's in great hands," Strickland said. "I'm always here. But he's in great hands, and like I said I look forward to what's the next steps for him, what's the future, whether it's in Boston or somewhere else."
STRICKLAND THINKS KNICKS CAN DRAW TOP PLAYERS
Strickland said on Thursday that he thinks the Knicks can land top free agents this summer. (No, he wasn't speaking specifically about Irving or any other free agent.) New York has enough cap space to sign two max free agents.
"I think so. This is New York City," Strickland said. "I know nowadays, with social media, the way media is now, you can go any place and be special. But New York is a special place. I would personally love to see it come back. I would love to see the Garden rocking and I think they have the ability to do something great this summer."
The Knicks will find out where they're drafting on Tuesday after the NBA Lottery. They have a 14 percent chance of getting the No. 1 pick. Strickland offered his thoughts on presumptive No. 1 pick Zion Williamson of Duke.
"Just watching him, he's one of those guys that even if he's not scoring, I think just his presence and his activity will impact the game," Strickland said. "His athleticism, his strength at that size -- and he's only going to get better as he has the opportunity to practice and play every day."
Strickland and Knicks legend Earl Monroe were at a bar on Thursday to unveil Budweiser's NBA Lottery promotion. The beer company will have 'Draught Lottery Machines' in five New York City bars that give patrons a 14 percent chance of winning a free beer leading up to the Lottery.