The Boston Celtics should be considered odds-on favorites to re-sign Kyrie Irving next summer after he declines his player option. But the New York Knicks and Brooklyn Nets are apparently hoping that changes.
From The New York Times‘ Marc Stein:
Kyrie Irving’s intentions are not at all clear at this point. There have been no firm indications from Irving or his camp that the All-Star guard is eyeing an exit from Boston next summer or that he’s angling to go to New York — as is often speculated.
But there are nonetheless credible rumblings in circulation that the Nets plan to pursue Irving, right alongside the Knicks, should he become a free agent on July 1, 2019.
Irving-to-New York rumors are bound to stay alive all year. He’s from New Jersey, and both the Knicks and Nets have a clear path to max cap space next summer. Brooklyn, in fact, has the potential to carve out multiple max slots.
The Knicks’ interest is a foregone conclusion. They’ve always been superstar-hunters; they’re just not very good at it. The Nets, on the other hand, have both D’Angelo Russell and Spencer Dinwiddie in tow. Irving is better than both, but Brooklyn’s interest in him no doubt depends on how those two fare this season.
Getting Irving to leave Boston should prove difficult. The Celtics are set up to run the East for the next decade or so. Irving may not want to pass that up. Then again, he already has his ring and left the Cleveland Cavaliers to escape LeBron James’ shadow and do his own thing. Maybe sharing the spotlight with Gordon Hayward, Al Horford, Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown isn’t what he wants to do long term.
If that’s the case, though, expect the Celtics to have somewhat of a pulse on the situation and explore trades closer to the February deadline.