Kyrie Irving’s name has been a popular topic of conversation as of late, but unfortunately, for all the wrong reasons.
So far, his refusal to take the COVID-19 vaccine will keep him out of all home games, all games against the NY Knicks, all games in California, and most recently all games against Toronto.
In fact, anyone unvaccinated is subject to criminal charges and/or fines up to $750K if they breach Canada’s quarantine protocols.
This has caused a lot of the talking heads in the media to suggest that the Nets consider trading Irving as to not derail their hopes of title contention this season.
Could Kyrie Irving’s vaccine refusal mean James Harden to the NY Knicks?
Brooklyn is definitely a strong enough team without Irving to at the very least make the playoffs, but once in the postseason, Kyrie missing about half of his games could be the difference between the team winning and losing a series.
This is what brings me to the topic of this article, as all the media talks about is Irving’s impact on Kevin Durant, but no one’s discussing how James Harden may feel about the entire situation…until now.
Stephen A. Smith from ESPN brought this concept to light yesterday on First Take.
Kevin Durant has already committed to an extension with the Nets back in August for 4-years, $198 million.
James Harden on the other hand is in the last year of his previous contract with just a Player Option for next season.
He can opt out of the deal and test free agency for the first time in his career.
Also, he notably turned down a 2-year/$103 million extension from the Rockets so that he could go chase a ring for less money.
So obviously, winning is Harden’s priority, and anything that could get in the way of that could turn him off from the Nets and force him to seek employment elsewhere next summer.
It’s no surprise to anyone that the Knicks are gearing up to acquire a star or two over the next few seasons so that when their time comes, they can actually compete for an NBA Championship.
It may require some kind of sign-and-trade as the Knicks won’t have the necessary available cap space to outright sign Harden next summer without doing a bunch of maneuvering beforehand, but if Harden does want out and refuses to come back to Brooklyn while the Knicks are offering the best trade package, it may force Brooklyn’s hand into sending him uptown on the Q train to The Mecca.
The Knicks may be an intriguing landing spot for Harden as ever since Thibs and Leon Rose took over, all they’ve been about is winning.
It also wouldn’t require him to move his entire life as he could easily just keep his home and whatever else he brought to New York with him when he was traded from Houston.
It’s something to consider…mainly because if the Knicks found a way to get James Harden, another Superstar would find their way to New York shortly after.
What are your thoughts, Knicks fans?