Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving are close friends – that’s not a secret – and the duo is almost certain to enter free agency in the summer by opting out of their deals with the Golden State Warriors and Boston Celtics respectively. The question remains about their next destination, will they re-sign with their current employers or look for pastures new and will it be together? There’s wide expectation that it will be.

The Warriors small forward is certain to be the most sought after player in the summer, especially if he wins a third straight NBA title with the reigning champions. The Los Angeles Lakers are keen to pair him with LeBron James, but the New York Knicks are said to be leading the chase after making him its No.1 priority.

Irving’s future with the Celtics is also in the dark at the moment with the point guard backtracking from his verbal commitment to re-sign with the most successful NBA franchise. Additionally, he seems to be looking at options with reports suggesting that he will meet with the Lakers in the summer.

However, the piece of news gathering pace involves a union between Durant and Irving and the most touted destination is the Madison Square Garden. The Knicks have the cap space to sign two free agents on max contracts and many believe the duo are top of their wish list.

ESPN’s First Take host Max Kellerman said he is hearing Durant and Irving to New York is a “real thing”. He believes the move will put more pressure on Durant rather than Irving because he will be seen as the leader of the team having won three titles with Stephen Curry in Golden State.

Kevin Durant Kyrie Irving (left) and Kevin Durant (right) will enter free agency in 2019. In this picture, Irving #11 and Durant #25 of Team LeBron laugh during practice for the 2018 NBA All-Star game at the Verizon Up Arena at LACC in Los Angeles, Feb. 17, 2018. Photo: Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images

Kellerman is not the only expert suggesting that Durant and Irving will team up in New York, with The Athletic’s Frank Isola also writing that the duo has already discussed joining forces at Madison Square Garden next season.

The Warrior forward is said to be only willing to sign for the Knicks if they can land another major free agent, namely, Irving. They are said to be debating about who will sign first as he will be seen as the leader of the team and not the “follower”.

The belief is that Durant will only join the Knicks if another high-level free agent agrees to sign with the team as well," Isola wrote for The Athletic. "The most likely candidate is the Celtics’ Kyrie Irving, who coincidentally won a championship in Cleveland as Robin to LeBron’s Batman.”

“He could fill that same role at MSG. So sure are some executives and player agents of a Durant-Irving pairing in New York that one agent told The Athletic that Durant and Irving are debating on who will sign first. Why is that important? The player that is signed second is viewed as the follower, not the leader."