There are a lot of teams that will be lined up at his door to talk to Kyrie Irving at midnight next July 1, trying to convince him to come to their team as a free agent. The Knicks have already started camping out at the front of that line.
The door may never open — Kyrie Irving says he is not leaving Boston.
That’s been the buzz around the league for a while, but speaking to Celtics fans at an event Thursday, Irving told the crowd he is staying put.
If one were cynical (*raises hand*), one could say “of course Irving said that to a room full of Celtics fans.” Nobody goes into that event and says “I’m leaving you to form another superteam in another city.”
Except, what Irving said Thursday fits right in line with what the buzz has been around the league for a while — other teams didn’t think Irving was bolting that situation. Now comes reporting from Shams Charania of The Athletic that Irving has been telling the Celtics he plans to stay as well.
This does not mean Irving is going to sign an extension with Boston, and there are about 88 million reasons why. The way the current NBA CBA is set up, the max extension Irving could sign next summer is four years at approximately $102 million. However, opt out and become a free agent then re-sign with Boston and he can get five years, $190 million. That’s a no-brainer decision for a sure max player. (Even if Irving left to go to another team, the max would be four years, $139 million, so again why sign an extension?)
One year can be a lifetime in the NBA, maybe next July Irving feels differently about Boston, Brad Stevens, and where the franchise is headed. Never say never. However, it’s highly doubtful — this is a contending team that should win a lot of games, it’s great for Irving on the court and his brand off it. Why would he leave?
None of that, however, will stop some of the rumors to come this season. That is the nature of the beast. However, don’t expect Irving to leave Boston next summer.