We’d already heard reports of Kyrie Irving and Jimmy Butler planning to form a super backcourt in the Eastern Conference next year. Apparently, they may not be alone.
Earlier this month, the Chicago Sun-Times reported that the two All-Star guard are “trying to find a way” to play together in the future. That could be for Irving’s Celtics, or with another Eastern Conference team.
The Knicks have been floated as a possibility. Irving is from nearby New Jersey, and New York remains an attractive market for the two players, even with the recent struggles. There are also the bones of a good team there, with Kristaps Porzingis, assuming he fully recovers from injury, and rookie Kevin Knox, who was very impressive in summer league.
Butler helped fuel Knicks speculation, liking Instagram comments about he and Kyrie teaming up in the Big Apple.
Butler recently turned down an offer from the Minnesota Timberwolves. It seems like there is little chance he returns, given reported fractions with the team’s other stars. Irving has already said he will become a free agent, though hasn’t ruled out a return to the Celtics.
Now, there are rumors that a third superstar could join Kyrie Irving and Jimmy Butler, should they team up.
On NBC Sports’ Bulls Talk podcast, Mark Schanowski and Vincent Goodwill discussed what will be a loaded 2019 free agency class. Goodwill says that an unnamed “very accomplished” NBA player is looking to team up with Irving and Butler.
“The top guys have already been talking with their friends around the league,” Schanowski said. “I’m sure Kawhi (Leonard) has already talked to LeBron (James) — their plan to reunite or get together in Los Angeles in 2019. Klay Thompson will be a free agent in 2019. Most likely he’s gonna stay right where he is with that dynasty out with the Warriors. And then you look at Kyrie Irving and Jimmy Butler talking about getting together somewhere. That could be with the Knicks or Nets.”
It was then that Goodwill jumped in…
“There’s a third guy that I can’t mention, but yeah,” Goodwill said about another 2019 free agent joining Irving and Butler. “I can’t tell you (who) but I can tell you it’s a very accomplished NBA player. Very accomplished.”
Given the rumored location—New York City—the two names that are going to get the most play here are Kevin Durant and Kawhi Leonard. Durant has been connected to the Knicks previously. Earlier today, Kawhi was mentioned as looking at Brooklyn as a place with a ton of cap room that he could build a super team. Of course, the phrase “very accomplished” certainly doesn’t mean “top five player in the league” like Durant and Kawhi, so it could be a much different guy.