The rumors about Kyrie Irving to the New York Knicks have created a stir on NBA Twitter. Here’s what I took away from all the craziness.
The most shocking of all the Kyrie Irving rumors came when ESPN’s Chris Haynes let us know the four teams Kyrie told Cleveland were his “preferred landing spots.” San Antonio and Miami were a couple of the usual suspects for star players. Minnesota was out of nowhere, but the team that created the most buzz was the New York Knicks.
The NBA world turned on its head Friday when ESPN’s Brian Windhorst reported that Cavs star point guard Kyrie Irving requested a trade out of Cleveland. According to Windhorst, LeBron James was “blindsided” and “disappointed” by Irving’s decision.
If you have a chance to get a star you jump on it. Not many want to come and play in the Big Apple anymore. Whether it’s the media pressure or some other reason the Knicks have consistently had a problem attracting the big names.
There’s a lot to take away from all the rumors. Are they just the usual NBA noise, or should Knicks fans get excited about this? Here are the three things I noticed.
1. Knicks Fans Really Can’t Agree On Anything
The Knicks have been looking for a point guard for the better part of three decades. Fans have been complaining, and rightfully so, about the lack of a floor general throughout that time.
They could have their guy with this trade. Irving’s a proven commodity in the league. In 2016-17, he averaged 25 points per game on 47 percent shooting and 40 percent from three-point range.
Only 16 players in NBA history have reached numbers that gaudy. Irving’s among names like Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, Dirk Nowitzki, Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, and his current teammate LeBron James.
Kyrie Irving is the best finisher in the NBA. Nearly every other fanbase in the NBA would line up to have him, but for some Knicks fans, he’s not good enough.
Even when discussing the potential acquisition of a four-time All-Star with a championship ring, Knicks fans managed to stay split on the decision.
2. Frank Ntilikina Hype Is Already Out Of Control
New York’s 2017 first-round draft pick, point guard Frank Ntilikina, is yet to play a minute against NBA competition. Try telling that to Knicks fans.
Some already believe he’s the answer to their prayers. The same fans who’ve been looking for a point guard for the last three decades would rather take a chance on a teenager then go with the proven Irving.
Part of this is the scarring left over from the Isiah Thomas era in New York.
Trading an “unprotected” first-round pick is always scary, but New York won’t find a prospect better in the draft than the 25-year-old Irving.
3. Kristaps Porzingis Wants To Play With Kyrie
Kristaps Porzingis went full millennial when expressing his desire to one day play with Kyrie Irving.
The unicorn “liked” a tweet from @NBA_Skits featuring Kyrie in a Knicks jersey.
Kristaps Porzingis likes a tweet with Kyrie Irving in a Knicks jersey. ? pic.twitter.com/EVE7VPncMc
— NBA SKITS (@NBA_Skits) July 21, 2017
The Kyrie, KP pick and roll combination is tempting. Irving was 15th in total pick and roll ball handler plays, finishing in the 82nd percentile of efficiency.
Irving isn’t exactly known as a playmaker or a creator for his teammates, but he’d create more opportunities for Porzingis than any teammate he’s ever had.
44.7 percent of Irving’s assists came on three-pointers this season. That would mesh pretty well with KP, wouldn’t it? The 21-year-old launched 314 attempts from beyond the arc in 2016-17. That means over 30 percent of his total FGA came from three-point range.
The LeBron-Kyrie pick and roll is one of the most devastating plays in the NBA. If Irving could bring even a hint of that magic to New York, he’d be a hero.
4. What Kyrie Wants Doesn’t Matter Anyway
ESPN’s cap expert Bobby Marks (former assistant GM of the Brooklyn Nets) broke the hearts of Knicks fans everywhere when he dropped some knowledge with this tweet.
A player without a no-trade giving his team a preferred list of trade destinations means pretty much nothing.
Marks says that giving Cleveland a list of teams “should have no significance.”
Giving Cleveland a list of teams should have no significance unless that player has a no trade clause. Kyrie Irving doesn't have one.
— Bobby Marks (@BobbyMarks42) July 21, 2017