Although many Celtics fans have turned on Kyrie Irving following a disappointing playoff performance, losing him in free agency would be a worst-case scenario for the franchise, writes Chris Forsberg of NBC Sports Boston. Even though he damaged his reputation and alienated younger teammates this year, Irving remains among the league’s best players at a crucial position, Forsberg states, and would be very difficult to replace.
Even if they subtract Irving’s $21.3MM salary for next season, the Celtics won’t have much cap room to work with, assuming Al Horford opts for one more season at $30.1MM. Losing Irving would also leave Boston without a superstar presence who might attract other stars or inspire Anthony Davis to sign a long-term deal if the Celtics trade for him.
A sign-and-trade deal involving Irving probably isn’t realistic, Forsberg adds. The Celtics wouldn’t be able to offer a fifth season in that scenario and it would only benefit a team that doesn’t have the cap space to sign him. Teams where Irving might be headed, such as the Knicks, Nets, Clippers or Lakers, can already offer a max deal.
There’s more out of Boston:
- Tuesday’s draft lottery will help define the Celtics’ plans for the offseason, notes Steve Bulpett of The Boston Herald. With the Clippers’ pick at No. 20 and their own selection at 22 already in hand, Boston will wait to see what happens with the Kings’ and Grizzlies’ choices. The Celtics will receive Sacramento’s pick unless it lands at No. 1 and Memphis’ choice if it’s outside of the top eight. All those selections could be valuable in a potential trade for Davis.
- Gordon Hayward is eager for another offseason to continue his comeback from a devastating ankle injury, Bulpett relays in a separate story. “I’m definitely looking forward to having a good summer, not dealing as much with rehab but still definitely working on the ankle and all that type of stuff,” he said. “But that’s going to be nowhere near as much as before. I’m a lot of time removed from the surgery, and that’s for sure exciting. Now I can do what I’ve always done every summer, and I’m for sure looking forward to that, getting back to that and really digging in and trying to have a really good summer.”
- Micah Shrewsberry tells Dustin Dopirak of The Athletic that his decision to leave the Celtics’ staff for a job at Purdue was simply a matter of preferring the college game. “My personality is more geared toward the college side,” Shrewsberry said. “I’m a relationships guy. If you would ask anybody that’s run across me, I value relationships, continuing and maintaining and having those. That’s something you get in college.”