The New York Knicks have opened up a ton of cap space for this summer and are set to make a run at one or two max players in free agency.
There are some that believe Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, two friends that will both hit free agency this summer, have already decided on joining forces in New York. That, of course, is far from confirmed, but there is speculation abound that at least one of them will move to the Big Apple this offseason in an attempt to resurrect the Knicks.
Durant and/or Irving joining the Knicks would be huge for a franchise that hasn’t landed a top free agent in over a decade, but there are some that question if it’s a good idea for either. There’s obviously the issue of the Knicks being terrible, but if both went, that would change dramatically. Instead, there are those like Charles Barkley who don’t think Irving or Durant have the makeup to handle all that comes with being in New York.
Barkley spoke with Sports Illustrated‘s Jimmy Traina at CBS and Turner’s media day ahead of the NCAA Tournament and was asked about the possibility of those two being Knicks. The Hall of Famer questioned whether they were “tough enough” to handle the New York spotlight and media, given their frustrations with the media in Oakland and Boston currently.
“You ain’t tough enough to play in New York,” Barkley answered. ”I don’t think him or Kyrie are tough enough to play in New York.”
“Kyrie’s a very good player, Kevin’s a great, great player, Barkley said, “but I’m not sure they have the mental make up to play in New York. There’s a lot that comes with playing in New York. And those guys are complaining about media asking questions and things like that, maybe New York isn’t for them. New York is a different animal. There are certain places everybody can’t play.”
Barkley isn’t the first to make note of the pair’s issues with the media and how that likely poses an issue in New York, but, truly, there’s not that much different about the New York media today than any other major market — and in the NBA, Oakland and Boston fit that mold. Yes, there was a time when the New York media was relentless and if they arrived in New York there would be tons of fanfare and attention.
That said, they’d be answering mostly the same questions they deal with now from similar faces on a national level and maybe slightly more local media (who may be a bit more pressing). That said, the vaunted New York media isn’t what it once was in terms of being vastly more intimidating than other places, and while Durant and Irving very well could take issue with some things said about them, that would likely be the case just about anywhere they were to go (including staying where they are now).