"Kyrie would be their first, second, third and fourth choice."
The New York Knicks will have money to spend next summer and there are plenty of All-Stars that could be available via free agency. Among them is Boston Celtics star Kyrie Irving, who is entering the final year of his contract with a player option for the 2019-20 season.
On Wednesday, A. Sherrod Blakely of NBC Sports told the Bulls Talk podcast that the 26-year old point guard is the Knicks' top priority should he hit the open market after the 2018-19 campaign.
"I've spoken with people within [the Knicks] organization. They have made it absolutely crystal clear to me that—if they had their pick of guys that are going to be in the free-agent market [next] summer—Kyrie would be their first, second, third and fourth choice," Blakely said.
Earlier this Summer, Yahoo Sports' Chris Mannix explained on his podcast why the Celtics should be concerned about Irving leaving to join the New York Knicks as a free agent in 2019.
"I think they're scared. I think they're scared and should be scared to some degree of Kyrie Irving walking in 2019. I know he had a great year, but you know there are people in Cleveland that will tell you that the Knicks should be considered a real threat for Kyrie Irving. Because Kyrie had talked about it—about playing with the Knicks with some players in that Cleveland locker room—from what I was told."
"You know, things can change. Obviously, you go to Boston and you become the face of the franchise. You're on a winning team. Maybe the mindset has changed significantly?"
In his first season with the Celtics, Irving averaged 24.4 points, 5.1 assists and 3.8 rebounds per game and was named an All-Star for the fifth time in his career. A knee surgery cause him to miss Boston's post-season run but the young team still managed to take the Cleveland Cavaliers to seven games in the Eastern Conference Finals. Not to mention, they played without All-Star forward Gordon Hayward for the entire season.
The Celtics are primed to be a contender for years to come, whereas the Knicks, coming off a 29-53 season, are stuck in "rebuild mode" as they haven't reached the playoffs since the 2012-13 campaign.