Charles Barkley: Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving Lack Toughness to Play for Knicks

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Charles Barkley: Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving Lack Toughness to Play for Knicks
Boston Celtics guard Kyrie Irving (11) dribbles against Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant (35) in the first quarter of an NBA basketball game, Saturday, Jan. 26, 2019, in Boston. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

Elise Amendola/Associated Press

NBA Hall of Famer and Inside the NBA analyst Charles Barkley doesn’t believe Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving are tough enough to play in New York, as he told Jimmy Traina of SI.com:

Both Durant and Irving can become free agents this summer, and rumors have linked both to a possible partnership with the Knicks.

The summer promises to be quite the show once free agency hits. Players like Durant, Irving, Kawhi Leonard, Klay Thompson, Jimmy Butler, Tobias Harris, Kemba Walker, Khris Middleton and DeMarcus Cousins, among others, are expected to hit free agency. 

In anticipation of one of the more loaded free-agency classes in recent memory, the Knicks created two max slots before the trade deadline in the Kristaps Porzingis deal. If the Knicks end up with the first pick in the NBA draft, they could either entice free agents by selecting Zion Williamson or flipping that pick in a package that could also include young players like Kevin Knox, Dennis Smith Jr. and/or Mitchell Robinson for Anthony Davis.

The possibility of a Durant-Irving-Davis trio in New York is terrifying for the rest of the NBA, even if those three players would need time to adjust to playing with one another. Pairing three players of that talent level would make them instant title front-runners.

Of course, such a pairing is still a pipe dream. And if Barkley is to be believed, the added scrutiny of playing in New York would adversely affect players like Durant and Irving. Granted, both have experience with scrutiny—Durant when he signed with the Warriors, and Irving both playing with LeBron James in Cleveland and now trying to lead the Boston Celtics, the favorites in the East coming into the season.

But joining the Knicks together and shifting the balance of power away from Golden State would bring a new level of attention. It’s a fascinating possibility, both on the court and off.

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