Boston Celtics All-Star guard Kyrie Irving is approaching free agency once the 2018-19 season ends and two teams from the Metropolitan area are expected to be heavy suitors.
Now that the Boston Celtics have been able to attract big-name free agents, the team will have the challenge of retaining one of their own once the 2018-19 NBA season ends.
With Kyrie Irving due to become an unrestricted free agent once the upcoming season ends, rumors are already flying around about where the star will land. In fact, the pursuit of Irving may have already started this summer.
While Danny Ainge and Celtics owner Wyc Grousbeck will do their best to retain the services of dynamic ballhandler, both the New York Knicks and Brooklyn Nets will do their best to lure Irving out of Boston and back to his home area, where he said in the past he desires to play.
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Throughout this offseason we have heard about the Knicks connection, but the Nets are the surprise. As New York Times reporter Marc Stein reported, Brooklyn is expected to be aggressive in their pursuit of Irving.
“I expect Brooklyn to aim as high as possible in free agency while reserving the right to stay conservative if the Nets can’t convince top-teir free agents to take their money,” Stein wrote in his NBA newsletter.
Wouldn’t it be the ultimate revenge if the team who gifted Ainge a stockpile of draft picks became the team that lured Irving away from the Eastern Conference favorites?
In a way, it would be a greater sting than him going to the Knicks. At the same time, the Celtics should remain confident about their chances of locking up Kyrie Irving to a long-term deal.
Not only is the team in good position to compete for a title, one of the players Irving desired to play with will be returning this season in Gordon Hayward. How far the team goes and how big a role Irving plays in that success will go a long way in determining his decision to stay or go.
If the team gets close to winning a championship, that should inspire him to stay and finish what he started. If the team finds a way to win it all, Irving may see it as a challenge to start fresh again and lead one of the New York teams back to relevancy.
Will the rumors distract the team?
Actually, Kyrie Irving’s contract status may be the one thing that could keep the Boston Celtics from their desired destination in 2019.
With the team back at full strength, the green are decisive favorites to reach the NBA Finals. Irving knows what lies ahead and is publicly avoiding the speculation and appears focused on taking that next step with his current team.
“The most important thing right now is finding our cohesion,” Irving said, as transcribed by Bosotn.com. “Finding that is going to be a process, which I am looking forward to doing with Danny [Ainge], Brad [Stevens], [and] everybody.”
We shall see, but if Irving gives any indication that he is not set on Boston during the season, don’t be shocked if Ainge trades the star. Especially since the team reached the Eastern Conference Finals without him.
If that happens and he eventually ends up with either the Knicks or Nets via free agency, a new rivalry would be in store for the Boston Celtics. That, of course, would be the worst-case scenario.
Let’s hope Kyrie Irving learns to bleed green just like Kevin Garnett did during his run in Boston.