The New York Knicks already want Kyrie Irving for 2019 free agency, so how does an early evaluation of the situation line up?
Nine months before it can happen, Kyrie Irving‘s free agent has become a topic of conversation. The New York Knicks reportedly have him at the top of their 2019 wishlist, as he projects to hit the open market, despite a player option in place for 2019-20.
Upon arrival to the NBA, Irving turned into one of the top young point guards. With high-end ball-handling skills and a dynamic scoring ability, he received recognition as a five-time all-star and someone teams covet.
The Knicks will seemingly be one of those interested in Irving in 2019. With any potential signing, though, there are positives and negatives—even one season in advance. So, what are the early pros and cons for this acquisition?
Pro: A signing takes pressure off Kristaps Porzingis
When the New York Knicks traded Carmelo Anthony in 2017, it placed Kristaps Porzingis as the guy at Madison Square Garden. It resulted in a spike in points per game, from 18.1 to 22.7, before the February knee injury.
Porzingis tore his left ACL, and his return timetable could be Christmas, according to Marc Berman of The New York Post. Whenever he comes back, while the Knicks might not be in playoff position, but will expectations arise for them to surge and join the top eight before the season ends?
It’s plenty—probably too much—to expect from someone off a major knee injury. Easing him in as the defacto number one guy can take time, not from the moment he returns.
While it would not happen until after 2018-19, Porzingis can use another primary scorer, or a star, to take the work off him to carry this team. While Kyrie Irving is an oft-injured player himself, there’s a season ahead to prove full health and become more reliable.
With Irving around, Porzingis’ numbers may slip, but is that a bad thing? A slightly lesser role potentially reduces wear and tear and allows him to work more inside, while Irving becomes the main perimeter player.