Amidst speculation that he may be wavering on his preseason verbal commitment to re-signing with the Celtics, Kyrie Irving was asked today about his free agency plans, and his response likely didn’t calm any nerves in Boston.
“Ask me July 1,” Irving said, adding that he plans to do what’s best for his career (Twitter link via Ian Begley of ESPN.com).
Irving also said that the Celtics remain “at the head of the race,” and that his plan for now is to remain in Boston, per Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe (Twitter link). Still, his comments today seemed far more ambiguous than the ones he made at the fan event in October, where he stood up and told Celtics fans, “If you guys will have me back, I plan on re-signing here.” Irving’s message today, per Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News (Twitter link), was: “I don’t owe anybody s—.”
Of course, verbal commitments are non-binding and Irving is well within his rights to change his mind between October 2018 and July 2019. Still, the timing of his hedging is pretty interesting. It comes on the heels of the Knicks opening up enough 2019 cap room for two maximum-salary free agents — and amidst rumors that Irving’s friend Anthony Davis could be traded.
As ESPN’s Brian Windhorst reiterated today, Davis’ camp has made it known that the big man doesn’t view Irving as a lock to re-sign with the Celtics, which would diminish Davis’ interest in Boston as a potential destination. Shams Charania of The Athletic reported today (via Twitter) that the Celtics still aren’t a preferred landing spot for Davis, who views Boston as a rental option.
While Windhorst acknowledges that his could be part of a disinformation campaign intended to land AD in L.A., he heard from multiple sources even before Irving’s comments today that the point guard may not be as committed to Boston as he had publicly stated.
Here’s more on Kyrie:
- Irving hasn’t informed the Celtics that his feeling have changed at all, sources tell Windhorst. A league source tells Himmelsbach the same thing, and both scribes suggests that the C’s remain confident they’ll ultimately be able to lock up Irving long-term.
- While there has been some speculation that Irving would have interest in teaming up with LeBron James again, a source with ties to Kyrie called that idea “a joke,” according to Himmelsbach.
- The Celtics have reached out to the Pelicans and let them know they’d be willing to discuss anyone on their roster besides Irving in the summer, sources tell Windhorst. Still, Windhorst wonders if the C’s might get skittish enough about Kyrie’s long-term future in Boston to entertain the idea of including Irving in an offer for Davis. Doing so would free up the team to make offers now, rather than waiting until the summer. That seems like a long shot to me though.