Kyrie Irving, New York Knicks
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Amid the Celtics’ struggles, Kyrie Irving has been described as ‘detached’ from his teammates, which spells good news for the New York Knicks.

Geoffrey Campbell

New York Knicks fans have multiple rooting interests centered around ping pong balls and the demise of the Boston Celtics.

Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer recently wrote about Kyrie Irving’s impending free agency and his thoughts on a Celtic team that has produced underwhelming results since the All-Star break.

With plenty of quotes to choose from, O’Connor’s most noteworthy claim comes from Irving’s change in behavior since February. O’Connor writes,

“He’s become disengaged and detached from those around the team. There is talk that Irving’s friendships on the team start and end with Tatum, with whom he shares an agent.”

O’Connor also writes about a roller-coaster season for the Celtics which has included plenty of discontent from players like Irving and Marcus Morris.

Watch any game and you’ll see that the Celtics are not enjoying their basketball. Add on the fact that many of the young players will be on their toes all summer when the Anthony Davis sweepstakes start to heat up again.

Now, of course, all of this can change. A deep playoff run can put all of this dysfunction to bed. But after losing five of their last six games, and hearing what appears to be a different Irving quote after every loss, the smoke is certainly there for Knicks fans to dream big.

But one also has to wonder what a discontent Irving may look like on the Knicks? I would never argue that signing such a great talent would be a mistake, but one must consider the following:

  1. Irving would be leaving a franchise with an established culture, great coach, and young and up-and-coming players that are at least somewhat playoff tested.
  2. The Knicks, while they look like they’re on the right path, are no closer to winning at a high level than the Celtics.

In fact, one might argue that Irving’s lack of leadership skills with the Celtics would be tested even more with the Knicks who have many young players and a coach who is developing as well. How long before the New York media starts needling Irving? Does he really want to play with his third team in four seasons?

With many twists and turns left in this drama, it seems like the playoffs will be the final act that determines Irving’s fate.

New York Knicks fans can only hope that their $74 million gamble ends with Irving making the leap to the Big Apple. But if the six-time All-Star is looking for an easier challenge, he won’t find one in New York.

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