One team both Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant have been connected to this summer is the New York Knicks, who are once again headed for the lottery after an abysmal season.
They traded their only star, Kristaps Porzingis, for Dennis Smith Jr. and some cap space, in apparent preparation for something big to come this summer.
Unfortunately for the Knicks, they might still be trailing the Clippers in the great free agent race.
“When the Knicks battle for the likes of Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard and Kyrie Irving, the Clippers stand as possibly their toughest foe,” writes Marc Berman of the New York Post. “The Clippers traded their top scorer and free-agent-to-be Tobias Harris at the deadline to put them in position to have two max-salary slots — like the Knicks. The Clippers still are winning without Harris and own a solid young corps headed by Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, the rookie point guard from Kentucky, who is having a better rookie year than his former teammate, Kevin Knox, an injury victim in Sunday’s loss.”
The Clippers are showing growth and stability even after trading their top scorer at the deadline. They remain competitive in a very stacked Conference while still managing to open up two max salary slots for the summer.
Meanwhile, the Knicks continue to embarrass themselves, thanks to poor play and questionable decision-making that has earned a lot of negative attention from the media.
While it is not hard to see why anyone would prefer the Clipps, it will be interesting to see how other teams respond to their edge in the Durant and Kyrie sweepstakes, especially the Knicks, who seem almost convinced that they are destined to attract some kind of big name this summer.