Kyrie Irving is a free agent this offseason, after two seasons with the Boston Celtics. Most NBA observers expect him to leave Boston, although where he’s going has been a matter of much speculation. The veteran guard has been linked to the New York Knicks, Los Angeles Lakers, and Brooklyn Nets, among other teams.
Now, a new report from ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith states that Irving has all but chosen a team.
Smith said on television Tuesday, per Twitter, that Irving “has given every indication to the Brooklyn Nets that that is where he wants to go.” Smith was clear that he has not spoken to Irving directly, and that things could change since the free agent signing period doesn’t begin for nearly another month.
Smith added that Irving would be choosing the Nets over the New York Knicks, where he has been rumored for several months to want to sign in order to team up with another free agent, Kevin Durant. But, per Smith, if Irving goes to Brooklyn, Durant would not want to join him there, leaving Durant the option to either join the Knicks along with another free agent such as Kemba Walker or perhaps remain with the Golden State Warriors.
The live audience in the Bay Area, where the segment was filmed, cheered the notion of Durant remaining with the Warriors, although Smith then said that “the belief is” that Durant will leave Golden State if the team wins the NBA Finals.
Kyrie Irving is leaning towards Brooklyn and sources say they’d be open to pairing DLo & Irving in the backcourt.https://t.co/RCUWO0qVH6— Anthony Puccio (@APOOCH) May 28, 2019
As the free agent signing period does not begin until the end of June, and Irving remains nominally a member of the Celtics until then, it would not be legal under the NBA’s Collective Bargaining Agreement for him to give any type of assurances to the Brooklyn organization prior to now, if what Smith is hearing is accurate.
Were Irving to sign with the Lakers, he would be reunited with Lebron James, with whom he won a championship in Cleveland.
In addition to the Durant implications, Irving and Jimmy Butler have, in the past, reportedly spoken about teaming up on the same team, and both are free agents this offseason. Reports this week, however, per The Inquisitr, stated that Butler’s current team, the Philadelphia 76ers, are prepared to offer him a max contract, for more money than he can earn from any other team. Butler was also photographed this week in shoes that are the colors of the Los Angeles Lakers.