The most fascinating rumor in basketball right now involves Kyrie Irving’s future with the Boston Celtics. Despite his claim before the year that he would stay in the Celtics upon hitting free agency this summer, Irving is rumored to be looking around, with both New York teams viewed as potential landing spots.
While the Knicks are the favorite to land him, much of the smoke around Irving has seemed to indicate a mutual interest with the Nets, which reportedly hopes that bringing Irving on board could lure Kevin Durant to Brooklyn. Amid all these rumors comes a rather interesting report from Adam Himmelsbach of the Boston Globe that indicates Irving’s current team is taking a “plan for the worst, hope for the best” approach this summer.
It is quite a balancing act, and there are no firm answers yet, but it is clear that so far things have not progressed as the team was once hoping. According to league sources, the Celtics’ belief that Irving will re-sign with them after free agency opens on June 30 has eroded.
There is still some hope within the organization that Irving will have a change of heart if Boston is able to acquire Davis. And Irving’s fickle personality certainly makes anything possible until he officially agrees to terms with some team.
As this mentions, it seems a bit premature to say anything decisive about a person as eccentric as Irving, but it’s never good to hear that a team’s confidence has “eroded” more than two weeks out. Naturally, this sort of move would have a domino effect, particularly on other teams looking for a point guard on the free agency market.
Why? According to Ian Begley of SNY, Brooklyn bringing Irving on board would reportedly make restricted free agent D’Angelo Russell very available.
If Irving signs with the Nets, SNY sources familiar with the matter say it is highly unlikely that Russell remains with the Nets. Members of the Nets organization have communicated that idea in recent days, per sources.
There was a report that the Nets were interested in pairing the two together. However, the fit isn’t perfect due to the defensive limitations and general ball-dominant approach that leads to both guys thriving, plus Brooklyn wouldn’t have the money to retain Russell if it was able to get Irving and another maxed out free agent this summer. There would assuredly be other players who would be impacted by this — what happens to, say, Mike Conley if a potential landing spot gets taken off the market because it trades for Russell?
Regardless, it’s going to be a fascinating few weeks in the lead up to Irving’s free agency decision, if only because no one is ever certain of what to expect with the All-Star guard.