Since the 2018 NBA offseason started, rumors and speculations continue to circulate around Kyrie Irving of the Boston Celtics. Irving’s decision to turn down the massive contract extension from the Celtics created the speculation that he is not happy in Boston and could leave as an unrestricted free agent in the summer of 2019. The 26-year-old point guard is reportedly planning to team up with his Team USA Basketball Teammate Jimmy Butler, who could use an early-termination option to test the free agency market next offseason.
Before Kawhi Leonard was traded to the Toronto Raptors, there were also rumors that the Celtics offered a trade package centered on Kyrie Irving to the San Antonio Spurs. In a recent column, Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald discussed the free agency and trade rumors surrounding the Celtics superstar.
“Three agents told the Herald they fully expect Irving to opt out and leave next summer, but sources connected to the player reiterated in the last two days that, while there are miles to go between now and the end of the coming season, the All-Star guard is quite pleased with his Celtic surroundings and has been talking about the future here beyond 2018-19. There was, as well, a report from a generally credible radio source stating that the club had offered Irving to San Antonio in recent trade talks for Kawhi Leonard. But sources from both clubs stated adamantly that was never the case.”
Based on Bulpett’s report, it seems like Kyrie Irving and the Celtics will continue their partnership for the next couple of years. As of now, it is hard to imagine why Irving would consider leaving the Celtics, knowing that they are currently the team expected to fully dominate the LeBron James-less Eastern Conference next season. The Celtics are currently one of the rising teams in the league, who, despite not having Irving and Gordon Hayward in the playoffs, reached the Eastern Conference finals and forced a Game 7 against James and the Cleveland Cavaliers.
The return of Irving and Hayward is expected to make the Celtics a more dangerous team, especially if Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, and Terry Rozier continue to show improvement and become legitimate superstars in the league. Though the Golden State Warriors are still the top favorite team to win the NBA championship title next season, a healthy Celtics’ roster will surely give them a huge problem in their third consecutive title defense. If they succeed to dethrone the Warriors, there is a higher possibility that Irving will re-sign with the Celtics in 2019 free agency.