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How The Knicks Could Land Jimmy Butler, Kyrie Irving In 2019

The Knicks are thinking big and trying to transform their fortunes in one summer.

With all of the wheeling and dealing and Super Team building going on in free agency, the bottom feeders of the league such as the New York Knicks are an afterthought when discussing captivating NBA narratives.

Most Knicks fans and basketball heads predict a long, painful road ahead before Steve Mills, Scott Perry, and David Fizdale can get the franchise back to respectability. As far as the Knicks being championship contenders, the basketball world believes hell will freeze over before that occurs.

The Shadow League on Twitter

David Fizdale has been hired by the Knicks. Let’s hope for more legendary and passionate press conferences like this! https://t.co/SPZw9Yd3Lm

Like most teams lacking three or four All-Stars, the Knicks dont have a chance to make any noise this season. With their best player, Kristaps Porzingis shelved with an injury for the season and no other exceptional talents to speak of,  its tank city USA for the Knickerbockers.

One (player) just wont do it anymore, Fizdale said Tuesday. We saw it with the greatest player in the world. Its hard. And now with whats going on (with the Warriors), good grief. You got to have a couple of guys to get to that mountaintop, yeah.

NY Daily News Sports on Twitter

David Fizdale: Knicks will make ‘big moves’ next summer to surround Kristaps Porzingis with stars https://t.co/fqQ87ZPVKP

However, with this latest trend that has NBA stars trying to align themselves to win easy championships by stacking the talent deck on a handful of teams, the fortunes of bad and mediocre teams can change quickly with one free agency period. There is a scenario in which the Knicks could be contenders, or at least very formidable by 2020.

Porzingis underwent successful surgery to repair his ACL tear back in February and while the Knicks gave no timetable for the 7-foot-3 Latvians return, sources indicated that his recovery would take 9-10 months which would have him making his 2018-19 debut in December and before Christmas.

Recent NBA players recovering from ACL tears have taken between seven to 12 months, so lets assume that Porz will be ready to go in 2019-2020, which would coincide with both Kyrie Irving and Jimmy Butlers unrestricted free agency in 2019. Is it possible, as ESPNs Max Kellerman suggested, that the Knicks could acquire the two All-stars in free agency next summer? Its already been reported that Butler and Irving want to play together. Its unlikely the Celtics want or even need to acquire Butler, so NY is a place where that can happen.

That talent logjam that everyone says is a good thing in Boston,  maybe just the circumstance needed for the Knicks to swoop in, grab Kyrie and secure another franchise talent.

The Shadow League on Twitter

Jaylen Brown and the Celtics were confident all game long. https://t.co/49DQDywaQA

Kyrie is an unrestricted free agent in 2019 and refused to commit to the Celtics after this season in a June interview.

“Well, I mean I know that question is going to come up a lot over the next year, just based upon where my deal is,” Irving said”

“And, you know, that time will arise and when it does, I think I’ll have a better, clear, concise answer for a lot of people that are going to ask.

In fact, according to The Chicago Sun-Times, Irving’s plan involves another superstar.

“A league source close to the situation told the Sun-Times on Tuesday that Kyrie Irving and former Bulls All-Star Jimmy Butler are still trying to figure out a way to play together. Whether that means the Celtics try and acquire Butler this summer or the two simply wait a year, both opt out of their player options after the season, and join forces that way.”

Chris Mannix of Yahoo Sports said on his podcast in June that the Celtics are scared Irving could leave next summer, and the Knicks are viewed as a potential destination. The 26-year-old Irving, who missed the playoffs following left knee surgery, can opt out of his contract next summer. The Celtics would be able to sign him to a five-year, $200 million max deal if he wants to stay.

I think theyre scared, Mannix said. I think theyre scared and should be scared to some degree of Kyrie Irving walking in 2019. I know he had a great year, but you know there are people in Cleveland that will tell you that the Knicks should be considered a real threat for Kyrie Irving. Because Kyrie had talked about it, about playing with the Knicks with some players in that Cleveland locker room from what I was told.

If this is true, the Knicks need to be working on cap space and everything else that would motivate Irving to come to The Big Apple and team with Porzingis.

Signing Jimmy Butler next summer as well is a logical step under the circumstances.  As we reported, Butler has already told the world that Minnesota has a worse chance of getting him to sign an extension than Drake does of beating Pusha T in a grimy rap battle. Hes not feeling the way Big KAT, Andrew Wiggins and Minnesotas young players approach their profession.  Apparently, theres more Fortnite playing going on than team building and craft refining.

NBA News Videos on Twitter

It Really Feels Like Kyrie Irving and Jimmy Butler Are Poised to Join the Knicks https://t.co/O5wY0aJ0YM

Also, Kawhi Leonard has been rumored as wanting to come to the Knicks. So that pipe dream also lingers in the back of the mind of Knicks fans, but a Porzingis-Butler-Irving “Big Three” is more feasible. If the Knicks could sign Butler and pair him with Kyrie and a healthy Porzingis, theyd be a sure shot playoff team and depending on the development of the first-round pick Kevin Knox and whatever lottery talent the Knicks acquire in the 2019 Draft, they might even become a team that can contend with Philly and Boston for Eastern Conference supremacy.

Just Knickin’ it on Twitter

Kevin Knox High schook highlights #Knicks https://t.co/BPHFSXNdjh

Theres a ton of ifs in this scenario, but its not beyond the realm of possibility. The Knicks new regime knows that they have to formulate a 3-5 year plan that makes the Knicks relevant again.

The historically vast and wide spreading anti-Knicks contingent has been joyously watching the Knicks wallow in futility for over a decade, but the NBA is even better when the Knicks are winning. I disagree with people who say the NBA doesn’t need the Knicks to be good. Get me a healthy Porzingis, Kyrie and Butler and Madison Square Garden will show the world why New York —  under the right circumstances —  is still the mecca of basketball marketability and excitement.

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