New York Knicks (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)
5. Friday, February 1 vs. Boston Celtics
There is a good chance that this is not a competitive game into the fourth quarter, as one of the favorites to win the Eastern Conference next year faces off against one of the conference’s bottom feeders.
What makes this early season matchup interesting, however, is that it provides New York an opportunity to woo a potential free agent signing for next summer.
Rumors have swirled that five-time all-star Kyrie Irving could be interested in New York as a free agent destination when he becomes an unrestricted free agent next summer.
Irving is a career 22.0 point, 5.5 assist, and 3.4 rebound per game player, and could pair with Porzingis to turn the New York Knicks into a playoff team once again.
With a roster full of solid young players and a serious chance to make the NBA Finals this year, it would be odd for arguably the best player on the roster to jump ship so quickly. Irving, however, has not been afraid to leave a contending team before.
The New Jersey native could be the superstar that the front office has in mind as New York attempts to clear space to offer a max contract next summer.
So February 1st serves as an opportunity for Irving to play against what is hopefully a group of quickly developing players in the Garden. He also can hopefully face a healthy Porzingis performing at a high level once again.
Perhaps witnessing the young talent of New York play well firsthand could provide a positive impression of David Fizdale’s squad heading into next summer.