The NBA’s free agent class this summer is expected to be loaded. Numerous players with the ability to hit the market are the types of guys who can change the direction of a number of franchises. While Kevin Durant and Kawhi Leonard are the two players most well-equipped to turn squads into championship contenders overnight, the most fascinating free agency might belong to Kyrie Irving.
Despite the fact that he made it sound like he intended to return to Boston before the season, Irving’s name has popped up as one that could be on the market this summer. The fun rumor has been that he’s destined to end up on the New York Knicks alongside Durant, but at this point, everything is speculation.
Regardless of where he goes, it might take some teams getting past where they are right now with Irving. Following an odd season in Boston in which the high-scoring guard went through incredible highs and breathtaking lows, some teams are becoming a bit leery about what adding Irving would require.
The most interesting bit of information from several sources that we’ve been able to consolidate and confirm is that some teams thought to have interest in Irving as a free agent are now a great deal more wary. Based on the way things played out with the Celtics this season and Irving’s role both off the court all year and on it in the playoff loss to Milwaukee, certain clubs are concerned about putting too many eggs in his basket right away.
Two teams for certain are telling people they will only go after him if they land another marquee free agent and that player says he wants Irving. In each of these cases, the initial target is different. (There was worry on one of those clubs that the basketball ops people might be overruled by ownership and told to make Irving a primary aim, but that organization is now on the same page.)
All of this could be rendered moot in about two seconds if Irving re-committed to Boston, something Bulpett reports is what the Celtics “continue to hold out hope” for. Still, with how this year went down for Irving, it’s not a stunner that some concerns would pop up, although it’s fair to question the extent to which they’ll end up being an issue once the summer rolls around if one of the teams with skepticism about adding him assess their current situation and come to the conclusion he’d help them become a championship contender.