NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — If the Knicks want Kyrie Irving, they just might have to give up Kristaps Porzingis.
According to ESPN, the Cleveland Cavaliers, preparing for the possibility that LeBron James might leave after next season, are focused on landing a young star for Irving, who has requested a trade. The report described Porzingis as “a primary Cleveland target.”
For now, the conversation is a nonstarter for the Knicks, league sources told ESPN. New York would only listen if the Cavaliers were willing to take the three years, $55 million remaining on center Joakim Noah’s contract, the report said.
The Knicks have reportedly made an offer for Irving, but it’s not clear who was included in that package.
Among the other players the Cavs are said to be interested in are the Celtics’ Jayson Tatum, the Suns’ Josh Jackson and the Nuggets’ Jamal Murray.
Irving, a four-time All-Star point guard, has grown tired of playing in James’ shadow and the preferential treatment shown by the Cavaliers to the four-time MVP, according to reports.
A native of West Orange, New Jersey, Irving reportedly gave the Cavs a list of four preferred landing spots: the Knicks, Heat, Spurs and Timberwolves.
Last season, Irving, the first overall pick in the 2011 draft, averaged 25.2 points and 5.5 assists per game.
In his second season with the Knicks, Porzingis, the fourth overall pick in the 2015 draft, averaged 18.1 points and 7.2 rebounds per game.
There had been some tension between Porzingis, 22, and the Knicks after the 7-foot-3 Latvian skipped his exit interview with then-team president Phil Jackson out of frustration over how the team was being run. Jackson then briefly put Porzingis on the trade block just before the draft. However, that situation appears have to settled down now that Jackson has left the organization.
The Knicks last week picked up the $5.7 million team option on Porzingis’ contract for 2018-19.
After signing a four-year, $72 million contract last summer, Noah had a disastrous first season with the Knicks. Slowed by injuries, he played in just 46 games and averaged 5.0 points and 8.7 rebounds.
At the end of last season, the 32-year-old was suspended 20 games for using a banned supplement. The ban will stretch through the first 12 games of next season. He also faces missing the start of training camp after undergoing shoulder surgery in April.
At one point, Carmelo Anthony had said he’d be willing to waive his no-trade clause to join Cleveland, but recent reports say he now only wants to be dealt to the Rockets.