Stephen A Smith Urges Knicks to Target Disgruntled Superstar in Free Agency

Alec Burks, Kyrie Irving, New York Knicks


Alec Burks, Kyrie Irving, New York Knicks

The New York Knicks were linked with a move for superstar guard Kyrie Irving from the moment rumors surfaced about him being at an impasse in his contract discussions with the Brooklyn Nets.

It’s a fact of life, disgruntled stars want out of their current situation, and the Knicks are listed as a prime destination.

Unfortunately, if recent history has taught us anything, it’s that New York is seldom seen as a winning destination for star players, and oftentimes, those same players use the Knicks as a bargaining tool for bigger deals elsewhere.

However, Irving is running out of options, and the Knicks might be the best opportunity that’s going to present itself for him – assuming he’s truly done with the Brooklyn Nets. According to ESPN’S Stephen A Smith, New York should do everything in their power to convince Irving to join their roster ahead of the new season, provided there are certain stipulations, such as him signing a one-year deal.

Kyrie to the Knicks? Stephen A. says ‘desperate times call for desperate measures!’ | First TakeKyrie to the Knicks? Stephen A. says ‘desperate times call for desperate measures!’ | First Take Stephen A. Smith, Chris “Mad Dog” Russo and JJ Redick discuss whether the New York Knicks should be interested in Kyrie Irving. #ESPN #NBA #FirstTake ✔️Subscribe to ESPN+ ✔️ Get the ESPN App: ✔️Subscribe to ESPN on…2022-06-22T15:06:07Z

“Desperate times call for desperate measures, and this brother is a superstar talent, he’s box office, ok? Don’t get me wrong, ain’t no way in hell that I’m giving him more than one year at a time, in terms of guaranteed dollars, because you can’t trust him to show up for work. But, once he’s at work, I’ll take him over 90% of the league, it might be higher than that – he’s that spectacular,” Smith said on a June 22 episode of First Take.

Of course, Irving isn’t the only guard currently linked with a move to the Knicks, as Jalen Brunson, D’Angelo Russell, and Malcolm Brogdon have all been mentioned in recent weeks.

The Path to Landing Irving

According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, New York has multiple avenues they can explore, should they wish to firm up their interest in Irving.

“For the Knicks, the likely path to acquire Irving depends on what the Nets prioritize. New York is even with the salary-cap line for 2022-23 so it could clear enough space to sign Irving on a maximum contract by offloading salaries such as Evan Fournier, Alec Burks, Nerlens Noel, and Kemba Walker. But the Knicks could also offer some or all of those players to the Nets or a third team in a possible sign-and-trade” Charania wrote on June 20. 

Of course, the Knicks need to be careful not to let other opportunities slip away in their pursuit of Irving. For example, if a draft-night trade presents itself, and the return is a high-level point guard, Leon Rose and the front office would be better served to give that deal some serious consideration because Irving is far from a guarantee.

Still, if draft day comes and goes, and no new point guard is on the roster, pressing ahead with Irving makes total sense, especially if you can retain your core young players while doing so.

Kyrie Could Still Re-Sign with Brooklyn

Contract discussions can experience a breakthrough at any moment, so, while Irving and the Nets currently find themselves at an impasse, there is still a very real chance that both parties come to an agreement and Irving remains in Brooklyn.

Of course, the Nets might also be feeling some pressure from Kevin Durant, who joined the team along with Irving in 2019 and is known to have a close friendship with the superstar guard.

New York has been burned by Irving before, and as such, should approach this saga with caution. But, as Stephen A Smith notes, there aren’t many guards at Irving’s level, and that’s why the opportunity to bring him to Madison Square Garden is one that has to be taken seriously.

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