With the Knicks owning two max free agent slots, it was always the dream of marrying Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving in blue and orange next season in The Garden. Even with Durant's Achilles injury, that still might be the case.
However, Irving may cause a rift in those plans if he does indeed land in Brooklyn.
SNY's Ian Begley has heard from sources that teams monitoring Irving's situation remain under the impression that, if he chooses to leave Boston, the Nets are currently at the top of his desired teams list. And The Athletic's Shams Charania noted Wednedsay that Irving will be opting out of his deal with Boston, as he gets set to hit the market.
So, if Irving does make his way to the Nets, what should the Knicks do next? This is where Kemba Walker comes into play.
Walker is coming off his best season in his eighth year with the Hornets, averaging a career-high 25.6 points to go along with 5.9 assists and 4.4 rebounds over 34.9 minutes in a full 82-game season. His performance also earned him his third All-Star bid.
The 29-year-old floor general has been very consistent over the past few seasons, and of course, he's earned the nickname "Cardiac Kemba" for his success in clutch moments. In fact, one of his best basketball moments happened in The Mecca during his college days at UConn...
Walker's skills have only developed more with that nasty stepback being one of his go-to moves. But even more important is his leadership qualities that have developed as well in Charlotte. Add the Hornets' lack of success in the playoffs, and Walker comes into free agency hungry to put a ring on his finger.
That's the type of player the Knicks are searching for this summer, but they won't be alone if they pursue Walker. Multiple teams looking for a mainstay at point guard will aggressive for Walker if Irving isn't in the cards. And that includes the Hornets.
Walker said this when asked if he still wanted to play for the Hornets on Thursday:
"I don't know how many times I can say that," he told The Athletic's Rod Boone. "I'm not going to lie. I don't know how many times I can say it. But if it doesn't work out I'm definitely prepared to play somewhere else. But yea, I would love to be in Charlotte."
After his All-NBA second team nod, Walker is eligible for a supermax contract. It isn't about the money for Walker, though. He did add that he would take less money if it meant the Hornets had more flexibility to build around him.
"Yeah, why not?" he said. "Yeah I would be. I would take less, yeah."
Could the Knicks convince Walker with that supermax deal? Irving may be the priority at the moment, but Walker could make the same impact for the Knicks if he comes to New York.