In the past months, rumors and speculations about the potential departure of Kyrie Irving from the Boston Celtics have continued to circulate around the league. Irving’s decision to decline the contract extension offered by the Celtics created the belief that he will be leaving Boston as an unrestricted free agent next summer.
As of now, the New York Knicks and the Brooklyn Nets have emerged as top landing spots for Kyrie Irving if he decides to leave the Celtics. Also, reports claimed that the 26-year-old point guard is interested in teaming up with Minnesota Timberwolves superstar Jimmy Butler. However, Kevin Arnovitz of ESPN believes Irving will be staying in Boston beyond the 2018-19 NBA season.
In a recent appearance on ESPN’s The Jump, Arnovitz discussed the future of Kyrie Irving with ESPN’s Ethan Strauss and Royce Young. Arnovitz revealed that his “best intel” said that there is a “pretty good mutual understanding” between Irving and the Celtics regarding his impending free agency.
“My best intel is that the Celtics and Kyrie have a pretty good mutual understanding that he wasn’t going to get traded in the offseason and that there are long-term aspirations for both parties,” Arnovitz said, as transcribed by NESN. “Anything can happen over the course of an eight-month season, but I kind of like him staying.”
It’s easy to understand why Kyrie Irving is still expected to remain with the Celtics despite the rumors that he wanted to team up with Jimmy Butler on either the Knicks or the Nets. Per the Boston Globe, the Celtics are the only team that can offer Irving a five-year contract worth $188 million, while others can only sign him to a four-year deal worth $139 million as an unrestricted free agent next offseason. Unlike the Knicks and the Nets, who are still in the middle of a rebuilding process, the Celtics are currently in a strong position to rule the Eastern Conference or even the entire league over the next decade.
The Knicks and the Nets may have young and promising talents on their roster, but even with the addition of both Irving and Butler, it still remains a big question if they can beat the reigning NBA champion Golden State Warriors in a best-of-seven series. Despite losing Irving and Hayward to a season-ending injuries, the Celtics still managed to reach the Eastern Conference finals and forced a Game 7 against LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers. The return of a 100 percent healthy Irving and Hayward is expected to increase the Celtics’ chance of becoming the Eastern Conference representative in the NBA Finals next season.