The Knicks do not have the assets acquired to land Kyrie Irving in a trade with the Cavs, unless they stun the NBA world and give up Kristaps Porzingis.
It was thought that the Porzingis trade rumors were ready to die once Phil Jackson left Manhattan, but when a player of Irving’s caliber becomes available – any and every player is on the table.
Moving Porzingis for Irving actually would make sense for the Knicks – especially if Cleveland can take on the disastrous Joakim Noah contract (easier said than done). The bottom line is that Irving is a better player than Porzingis. Irving is already a top 10 player in the league and has the potential to be a top three player. Porzingis is maybe a top 20 player and has the potential to be a top 10 player.
The age factor is virtually non-existent as Irving is 25 and Porzingis is 22. By all indications, Irving wants to play in New York as well – a rarity among top-flight NBA players under the James Dolan ownership. Even if Cleveland scoffs at taking on the Noah contract, an Irving for Porzingis straight-up swap makes a boatload of sense for both teams.
Regarding the Knicks’ sticking point on unloading the Noah contract, here’s what ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski wrote about the situation this week:
“For the right All-Star player – Irving or otherwise – multiple NBA teams are seriously questioning how emphatic of a ‘no’ that will stay for New York,” Wojnarowski wrote. “There continues to be a distance between Porzingis and the organization, and how the Knicks truly value Porzingis’ future could become clearer once they’re together to begin the season.”
Unbelievably, the Knicks could actually roll out a lineup next season that does not include Porzingis but does include Carmelo Anthony. New Knicks GM Scott Perry would surely want to see if there’s anything to an Irving – Anthony combo before moving the small forward.
Longterm, Irving has enough cache to lure other young talented players to New York. That’s something that’s not certain if the Knicks stay the course and unload Anthony and keep Porzingis.