In the past months, rumors continue to swirl that Kyrie Irving will be leaving the Boston Celtics as an unrestricted free agent in the summer of 2019. His decision not to sign the contract extension with the Celtics heated up the speculations about his potential departure. However, declining Boston’s offer doesn’t necessarily mean that the All-Star point guard won’t re-sign with the Celtics in 2019 NBA free agency.
Financially, signing an extension doesn’t make any sense for Kyrie Irving since he can earn bigger money when he inks a contract as an unrestricted free agent. In an interview with Ryan Robb of Boston Sports Journal, Celtics legend Paul Pierce gave his two cents about Irving and his impending free agency. Pierce said that there is a huge difference between their generation and the current NBA players and added that “there is no loyalty to a franchise anymore.”
“You know what? It’s hard to really get a read on the players these days. There are so many changes being made,” Pierce said. “Who would have expected Kevin Durant to go to the Warriors? (DeMarcus) Cousins to the Warriors? LeBron (James) to Miami a few years ago? Players are just showing that they have the control and the power to do what they want. There is no loyalty to a franchise anymore. You are not going to see a player stay with one franchise for 10-15 years. That’s the generation we live in. You have to brace for it.”
Paul Pierce used LeBron James and Kevin Durant as perfect examples. James and Durant left the teams that drafted them to chase an NBA championship title somewhere else. LeBron headed to Miami Heat to team up with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh where they ended up winning two NBA titles together. Meanwhile, KD joined the 73-9 win Warriors after the Oklahoma City Thunder blew a 3-1 lead in the 2016 Western Conference finals.
Like James and Durant, Kyrie Irving is the type of NBA player who has the power to control his NBA future. If he realizes that he doesn’t want to spend his prime in Boston, Irving could just leave the Celtics in the 2019 NBA offseason as an unrestricted free agent. It’s worth noting that when Irving demanded a trade from the Cleveland Cavaliers, he only listed the Heat, San Antonio Spurs, Minnesota Timberwolves, and the New York Knicks as his preferred trade destination. When Irving rejected the contract extension with the Celtics, rumors started to circulate that he is interested in playing together in one team with his Team USA teammate Jimmy Butler.