The idea that Kyrie Irving might leave the Celtics this summer is nothing new. The superstar speaking about it publicly is a new development though.
Kyrie Irving sounds like a guy who isn’t ready to put down roots in Boston.
Life is never dull in the NBA. Just one day after the Knicks and Mavericks pulled off a massive trade that sent Kristaps Porzingis to Dallas, Irving has grabbed headlines around the Association with his comments about a future with the Celtics.
Previously, all of Irving’s on the record comments indicated he was very open to the idea of staying in Boston for the long haul. That all changed on Friday. Now the exciting point guard says he’s going to “do what’s best for his career” when free agency arrives on July 1.
That’s not good news for Celtics fans hoping to build a championship team around Irving for years to come. There’s no reason for the player to come out and commit his long-term future to Boston at the moment, but Brad Stevens and company would have hoped for less troubling words from their franchise point guard in early February.
The timing of his change of heart should be particularly worrisome for Danny Ainge. The Knicks clearly made their deal for Dallas in an effort to open up the space to sign multiple max free agents this summer. Clearly, Irving is someone they will target.
New York’s ability to ultimately land Irving may depend on their ability to woo another star to play with him, but it’s widely believed that multiple big name free agents want to play with him moving forward. Expect the Knicks to try to sell Irving and another player like Kevin Durant on the chance to lead the Celtics back to an NBA championship.
That doesn’t mean the Celtics should be in panic mode. They still have a very attractive proposition to sell to Irving. Ainge has done a terrific job of assembling a young group of talent that’s capable of winning games now and improving in the future.
Boston’s dream is to use some of that young talent to acquire Anthony Davis this summer. If they can swing that deal, keeping Irving in the fold will be much easier. Of course, Davis’ willingness to come to Boston largely depends on Irving’s status as well. It’s going to be a tricky summer for the Celtics.
Irving isn’t a lock to leave Beantown this summer, but Celtics fans might want to hold off on buying his jerseys for the rest of the season. Their superstar point guard is a serious flight risk once free agency begins.