Since the 2018 NBA offseason started, rumors continue to swirl about the potential departure of Kyrie Irving in the Boston Celtics. The speculations heated up when the 26-year-old point guard decided to reject the massive contract extension the Celtics offered this summer. Irving made it clear that his decision not to sign the extension doesn’t necessarily mean that he wants his way out of Boston.
Financially, signing the contract extension doesn’t make any sense for Kyrie Irving since he can earn more money when he inks a new contract as an unrestricted free agent in 2019. However, the rumors surrounding Irving won’t die down, and according to Marc Stein of the New York Times, the Brooklyn Nets and the New York Knicks will try to steal Irving from the Celtics next summer.
“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. 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-tier free agents to take their money.”
The Knicks and the Nets are currently in a strong position to make enough salary cap space to give Kyrie Irving a maximum contract next offseason. If one of the two teams succeed to acquire Irving, there is also a strong possibility that Jimmy Butler, who could exercise his early termination option to become an unrestricted free agent, will follow. In the past months, there are speculations that the two superstars are planning to play together in one team.
The successful acquisition of Kyrie Irving and Jimmy Butler will undeniably turn the Nets or the Knicks from a lottery team to a legitimate title contender in the Eastern Conference. However, as of now, it is hard to imagine why Irving will consider leaving the Celtics to join the Knicks or the Nets. Unlike the two teams situated in New York City, the Celtics have already proven their capability to rule the league for the next couple of years. Irving will surely want to be part of a dynasty rather than facing an uncertain future on a new team.