Report: Knicks making Celtics’ Irving their top target

Kyrie Irving and the Celtics enter the 2018-19 season as the favorites in the Eastern Conference.

Let there be no doubt, the New York Knicks want Kyrie Irving to be one of them someday.

That’s the latest from noted Boston Celtics reporter A. Sherrod Blakely, who discussed the Celtics’ star point guard and Knicks on the NBC Sports Bulls Talk Podcast.

“I can tell you right now, the New York Knicks, Irving is their No. 1 target,” Blakely said. “I’ve spoken with people within that organization. They have made it absolutely crystal clear to me that, if they had their pick of guys that are going to be in the free agent market this summer, Kyrie would be their first, second, third and fourth choice.”

Irving is coming off knee surgery and while he played 60 games in his first season in Boston, he missed the entire playoffs. So there are serious questions about his durability. But the bottom line is Irving has immense talent when it comes to creating scoring opportunities for himself and sometimes others.

He is a New York kind of point guard.

The good news for the Knicks and others is Irving is expected to opt out of his $21.3 million contract after the season, giving teams an opportunity to try to steal him away from the Celtics.

Of course, the Celtics would like to keep him, and are hopeful Irving and Terry Rozier can co-exist — both on the floor and under the salary cap. But with as well as Rozier played in Irving’s absence, it’s hard to tell how all this will work out.

“Rozier, who excelled in the playoffs in Irving’s absence, is entering a contract year, Marcus Morris will be a free agent and Al Horford and Aron Baynes can join Irving in opting out of their 2019/20 deals,” noted Arthur Hill of HoopsRumors.