Suddenly, the New York Knicks have a plethora of options to fill their backcourt void: Kyrie Irving, Jaden Ivey, Jalen Brunson or Malcolm Brogdon?
But they all come with a cost. The million-dollar question now is which way will the Knicks go?
On Monday, The Athletic’s top NBA news breaker Shams Charania added Irving to the Knicks’ growing list of lead guard options. Irving’s future with the Brooklyn Nets remains murky since GM Sean Marks’ cold remarks during his end-of-the-season interview.
The Knicks, along with the Los Angeles Lakers and Clippers, are expected to be among the interested suitors if Irving heads elsewhere, according to Charania.
“For the Knicks, the likely path to acquire Irving depends on what the Nets prioritize. New York is even with the salary-cap line for 2022-23, so it could clear enough space to sign Irving on a maximum contract by offloading salaries such as Evan Fournier, Alec Burks, Nerlens Noel and Kemba Walker. But the Knicks could also offer some or all of those players to the Nets or a third team in a possible sign-and-trade,” Charania wrote.
Irving is the best option for the Knicks in terms of star power and skill set, bar none. But the fit is questionable regarding the Knicks’ timeline and Irving’s penchant for attracting off-court drama.
Ivey, the projected top-4 pick, further fueled speculations about the Knicks’ Draft Night plans when he listed them as potential landing spots.
“I started looking at films of Sacramento (Kings). Obviously, there could be a situation where I could land in New York. I watched a lot of Detroit (Pistons) — the pieces that they have, [they have] young talent — and OKC (Oklahoma City Thunder) is where I could see myself at,” Ivey said in a zoom call with reporters Monday.
Ivey spoke about the Knicks with reverence. The 6-foot-4 combo guard said it would be an honor to play for the Knicks, which he described as a tremendous organization. There seems to be a strong mutual interest between both sides as the Knicks are reportedly one of the teams planning to trade up to get the Kings’ No. 4 pick.
“I feel like I could complement [Knicks] organization and help them win if they drafted me,” Ivey added.
While Ivey did not visit New York, the Knicks were front and center during his Pro Day led by team president Leon Rose and coach Tom Thibodeau. And they don’t need more intel since Ivey is a client of Creative Artists Agency, a known Rose’s bailiwick before taking the Knicks job. Ivey shares the same agent (CAA’s Austin Brown) with Knicks former lottery pick Obi Toppin.
The Purdue star, whose game resembles a cross between Ja Morant and Russell Westbrook, believes he’s a natural fit with the Knicks.
“I think I could definitely fit,” Ivey said. “I have that DNA to be a winner. Obviously, you have to have guys who want to win in order to win. Like you said, RJ Barrett, I feel like they want to win. It starts just in practice and I just feel like I have that DNA to win and we’ll just see what happens.”
The Kings’ asking price may be high, but it’s not as high as the price of getting Donovan Mitchell down the road or Irving this summer. But the Knicks need to trump any offer from the Thunder, armed with seemingly bottomless draft picks and intriguing young players, and the Pistons, who have Jerami Grant.
Somewhere in the middle of the Knicks’ pursuit of a lead guard is Indiana Pacers’ oft-injured Malcolm Brogdon.
According to Charania, the Knicks (No. 11) and the Washington Wizards (No. 10) are interested in trading for Brogdon using their lottery picks.
Brogdon, who Brown also represents, signed a two-year, $45 million extension with the Pacers last year that will run through the 2024-25 season.
A wild card is the Dallas Mavericks’ breakout star Jalen Brunson, whose father Rick will be part of Thibodeau’s coaching staff beginning next season.
Brunson is set to become an unrestricted free agent, and the Knicks need only to shave around $20 million in salaries to pursue him in the open market.
On Thursday night, we will have a little clarity.
Will the Knicks go all-in on Ivey or weigh their other options and wait for July?
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