For the past several months, the New York Knicks have been considered as the top favorite to sign Kyrie Irving as a free agent this summer. And with Irving’s current team, the Boston Celtics, currently down 3-1 in their second-round playoff series against the Milwaukee Bucks, speculation is ramping up regarding the possibility of him opting out of the final year of his contract. However, oddsmakers currently do not have the Knicks as the leading candidate to sign the 27-year-old point guard, as the Brooklyn Nets have apparently overtaken the NBA’s other New York-based team as the leader in the Irving sweepstakes.
Citing the latest data from Las Vegas’ SuperBook, Complex wrote on Tuesday that the Nets (+250) are now slightly ahead of the Knicks (+300) as the team most likely to land Irving in the summer of 2019. The Celtics are at third place with +350 odds, hinting that there could be a chance Irving will re-sign with Boston after two years with the team. Los Angeles’ two NBA teams, meanwhile, were both listed as long shots, with the Lakers and Clippers’ odds currently at +750 and +1000 respectively.
As further noted by Complex, another top-tier player expected to enter free agency this summer — Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant — has also been rumored to be headed to the Knicks. SuperBook’s most recent 2019-20 NBA championship odds show the Knicks at 12/1 if they end up signing both Irving and Durant, putting them right behind the Bucks as the second most likely team to win next year’s NBA Finals.
Kyrie Irving walked off the court alone, and well ahead of his teammates, after a Game 4 loss. As the Celtics face elimination in Game 5, and Irving faces free agency this summer, it bears the question: has he played his final game as a Celtic in Boston? https://t.co/4uzrxq1dQw
— Tim Bontemps (@TimBontemps) May 7, 2019
According to CBS Sports, the Brooklyn Nets have become a more attractive destination for Kyrie Irving and other would-be free agents because of their success in the 2018-19 NBA season, as point guard D’Angelo Russell enjoyed a career year and led the team to the playoffs for the first time since 2015. The outlet added that the Nets also have a “better reputation” than the Knicks at the moment, which could be “good news” as they look for the missing pieces that could turn them into an Eastern Conference contender.
Meanwhile, Irving has recently been cagey when it comes to questions regarding the possibility he will leave the Celtics and sign with another team in the 2019 offseason, despite his comments in October that he “[plans] on re-signing” if Boston fans will “have [him] back.” In February, Irving told reporters that they should wait until July 1 — the usual first day of the NBA offseason — before they ask him again about his free agency plans. As further quoted by the NBA’s official website, Irving also said that he “doesn’t owe anybody” anything when reporters brought up his past remarks suggesting he wants to stay in Boston.