BOSTON (CBS) — All signs are pointing to Kyrie Irving leaving the Celtics this offseason. But the two sides will talk at least once more before Irving decides on where he’ll play next.
According to The Athletic’s Shams Charania, Irving is set to meet with the Boston brass in the coming days:
All-Star Kyrie Irving, who has decided to opt out of his $21.3 million deal for next season to become a free agent, and top Celtics officials will meet soon to discuss his future, league sources said. A potential meeting could occur before Thursday’s NBA draft sources said, as both sides could look for clarity ahead of the start of free agency on June 30.
Reports last week had Irving connected to the Nets, with the Boston Herald reporting that he was prepared to sign with Brooklyn when he hits free agency on June 30. (Deals cannot become official until July 6.) There are also rumblings that Irving could head to L.A. to play with LeBron James once again, now that the Lakers have Anthony Davis in the mix.
Everything seemed to be great with Irving and the Celtics before the 2018-19 season tipped off, with Irving telling season ticket holders he planned on signing a max deal with Boston this summer. Irving then went out and had a great season for Boston on the floor, averaging 23.8 points and a career-high 6.9 assists during the regular season, but friction grew throughout as the Celtics struggled to find any chemistry and consistency. Irving called out his young teammates on a handful of occasions, and got sick of questions regarding his free agency and whether he wanted to leave Boston and play closer to home with one of the teams in New York. He backed off his preseason proclamation that Boston would be his home for a while, and then struggled mightily as Boston was sent home in the second round of the playoffs at the hands of the Milwaukee Bucks.
The Celtics were seen as the favorites to win the East before the season started, but Irving didn’t seem to be bothered when the Celtics season came to an end prematurely. Celtics president of basketball ops. Danny Ainge didn’t sound very confident that Irving would be back in green when he addressed the media after the season ended, but said he would never regret trading for the All-Star point guard two summers ago.
Now Ainge and the Boston brass will make one more pitch to Irving before free agency gets underway next week.