Should the New York Knicks opt to target other players and leave Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving to play elsewhere?
At the start of the 2020 NBA season, Durant will be 32 years old and off a torn Achilles. The best-case scenario, if the Knicks signed both of these superstars would be a two-year window to compete for a title. Durant, hypothetically, is still able to compete at a high level, and Irving manages to return to form as one of the best isolation scorers in the league.
This plan is just unrealistic, especially given the catastrophic effect that the Achilles injury has on NBA players. Let’s note Kobe Bryant, who averaged 27.3 points per game on 46 percent shooting before his Achilles injury, dropped to 19 points on 37 percent shooting post-injury.
The Lakers giving Bryant a huge contract despite his injury set the franchise back years, as they have missed the playoffs for six consecutive seasons. New York offering Kevin Durant a supermax contract, with the knowledge that he’d be out for the entire first year, is strikingly similar to the Bryant situation.
The Knicks have struggled for years which has finally culminated in the building of some promising young talent (RJ Barrett, Mitchell Robinson, Kevin Knox), and now, to max out two questionable superstars, rather than build on the young talent they already have, is curious.
Let’s not forget that the Boston Celtics won 55 games and made the Eastern Conference Finals without Irving, and only won 49 games with Irving and got bounced out of the second round.
The truth about Irving is that he does not help anyone else on the team get better due to his isolation style of play and this has always been problematic. Knicks fans should let the Nets give up on their young NBA All-Star and mortgage their entire future on a superstar with the worst possible injury a basketball player can suffer, and a point guard who just nearly decimated a thriving franchise in the Celtics.
So what should the Knicks do with all this cap space and some promising young draft picks?
The answer is to build a young roster of potential NBA All-Stars that can compete for years to come.
Giving long-term contracts to D’Angelo Russell, Julius Randle and Malcolm Brogdon is the smartest play; Russell is a 23-year-old All-Star; Randle will be an All-Star one day; Brogdon was a vital young piece on the best team in the league last year.
Surrounding these future stars with the promising cast of RJ Barrett, Allonzo Trier, Mitchell Robinson, Kevin Knox, Damyean Dotson is a no-brainer. Let this team grow together and they would scary in the Eastern Conference for the next 5-10 years.
Look how “The Process” played out for the Sixers; continuing to grow and build upon your young talent rather than just a quick fix of Amar’e Stoudemire, Carmelo Anthony, Derrick Rose, Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving is the way to go here.
The New York Knicks should be smart and put themselves in a position to win over the course of 10 years, rather than execute a pipedream plan that would have a best-case scenario of a two-year window if all the stars align. Let’s sit back and watch the dominoes fall as they will.