Boston Celtics guard Kyrie Irving is expected to be one of the top free agents on the market this offseason in the NBA, and it appears that the lackluster series Irving has had against the Milwaukee Bucks in the second round of the playoffs may seal his fate.
Following Boston’s loss Monday night, which gave the Bucks a 3-1 series lead, commentator and former NBA player Jalen Rose had harsh words for Irving on ESPN’s Get Up morning show Tuesday.
“He’s shown that he can’t be the best player on a contending team,” Rose said of Irving. “He’s done in Boston. And are you ready for this? His teammates’ll help him pack.”
Rose also stated that the space-and-pace style the Celtics formerly used, especially last season when they reached the Eastern Conference finals with Irving injured, no longer works with Irving’s style of play.
The Washington Post reported this week that Irving is likely to leave the Celtics this summer, and that a lot of fans of the team won’t be especially sad to see him go.
Per ESPN, Irving has been in a career-worst slump for the last three games of the series, including the third and fourth games in Boston. In Game 4, Irving scored 23 points on 7-for-22 shooting, Overall, Irving has shot just 31 percent from the field in the second, third, and fourth games of the series.
— Boston Globe Sports (@BGlobeSports) May 6, 2019
Irving came to the Celtics in August of 2017, after he demanded a trade away from the Cleveland Cavaliers, where he had played for his entire career up until that point. Irving declared last October that he “planned” to re-sign with the Celtics, per NBC Sports, although the player had backed off of that statement by February, per NBA.com.
There has been much speculation on Irving’s ultimate free agency destination. Despite requesting a trade away from LeBron James when they both played for Cleveland, Irving has been rumored to have interest in a reunion with James with the Lakers, per Bleacher Report. The New York Knicks have also been mentioned as Irving’s potential new team, with a team-up with Kevin Durant often discussed, either there or across the river with the Brooklyn Nets. Irving and Jimmy Butler, also a free agent heading into the summer of 2019, have also reportedly discussed teaming up and signing with the same team, per Sports Net New York.
The series between Boston and Milwaukee will resume with Game 5 on Thursday in Milwaukee, with the game broadcast on TNT.