We've heard it before about the superstar who wanted to join the Knicks, who coveted the spotlight and endorsements and The Mecca of Basketball and yada, yada, yada.
The Knicks have sold multiyear plans around the idea that they will eventually sign Gladys before they end up with the Pips. Or Amar'e Stoudemire. Which brings us to Kyrie Irving.
Reports recently have reiterated that the point guard views the Knicks as a desirable destination, and that only makes sense because it's Irving's hometown team, he believes the world is flat and he's a big fan of Kristaps Porzingis.
"I told (Porzingis), I would love to play with a big like you, man," Irving revealed last season, unsolicited, about a conversation in October with the Knicks All-Star.
If Irving is available in a trade this summer, the Knicks should absolutely engage the Celtics – albeit warily because GM Danny Ainge has been known to prevail in negotiations. But if this is something that can't materialize until Irving is a free agent in 2019, here's the smart move: keep the idea of Irving tucked away, out of sight, until it's a reality.
What that means, most importantly, is don't draft next week on the assumption a superstar point guard will be on the roster. If Trae Young or Collin Sexton is available and the Knicks have them on top of their board, don't hesitate because they might be incompatible with Irving.
Same applies with this summer's free agency and the ensuing trade deadline. There have been enough opportunities punted away for fantasy. Don't draft Sam Bowie over Michael Jordan because Clyde Drexler is already on the roster.
With that being said, the Knicks have taken the right approach by, according to sources, targeting free agency in 2019. It's simply a product of circumstance. They are positioned to have cap space and it just so happens Irving will be a free agent. It's also significant to the big picture that Porzingis won't play most of next season, if at all, while recovering from ACL surgery. New York is bound for the lottery again.
Here's the organization's two-year plan, subject to change based on the NBA's unpredictability:
–Hit a home run in the draft. Easier said than done. But the draft is, by far, the best chance for New York's front office to improve the roster this offseason.
–Preserve cap space for 2019. That means holding off on signing any long-term deals this summer for marginal upgrades. It could also mean waiting to waive Joakim Noah, or waiting until next year to sign Porzingis to a long-term extension.
–Use the upcoming season, the first under David Fizdale, as a means to develop and assess the roster, specifically players like Emmanuel Mudiay, Trey Burke and Frank Ntilikina. If this sounds dull, it's because rebuilds are supposed to be. Some advice: sell your ticket to the Times Square tourist.
–Pitch Fizdale, Porzingis, the 2018 draft pick and the (sure-to-be-high) 2019 pick to free agents next summer, when Irving, Kawhi Leonard and Jimmy Butler could be among the top available players.
Of course, things never go according to plan for the Knicks so in one year we could be writing about LeBron James shredding his knee just after he signed a six-year contract in New York. It's why the suggestion regarding Irving is to plan for the possibility, but don't rely on it.