After an up-and-down season with the Boston Celtics, Kyrie Irving’s free-agent fate is more up in the air than ever.
Kyrie Irving wasn’t supposed to be here.
In October, Irving told Boston Celtics season-ticket holders, “If you guys will have me back, I plan on re-signing here next year.”
Free-agent case closed, right? Not so much.
While the Celtics entered the 2018-19 season as the favorites to make it out of the East, they crumbled amidst locker room turmoil and heightened expectations. Irving in particular clashed with some of his younger teammates, who struggled with returning to lesser roles after they guided Boston to within one game of the 2018 NBA Finals sans an injured Irving and Gordon Hayward.
By early February, Irving was far less resolute about whether he’d stay with the Celtics beyond this season, telling reporters to “Ask me July 1” when broached about his free-agent plans.
“At the end of the day, I’m going to do what’s best for me and my career,” Irving added. “I don’t owe anybody s–t.”
The Celtics can offer Irving a five-year, $189.7 million contract this summer, while other free-agent suitors will be limited to four-year, $140.6 million deals. But given how listless Irving and the Celtics appeared for most of their second-round playoff loss to the Milwaukee Bucks, it’s fair to question whether a reunion is in order.
As Irving weighs his free-agent options this summer, the following five destinations stand out as his most likely landing spots.