But groundwork was already being laid for those two to team up in Brooklyn.
How did it all come together?
Dinwiddie revealed details of his recruitment of Irving.
Dinwiddie, via The Athletic:
The first time he reached out was probably maybe like December, in terms of just loosely talking about it. Because he’s still obviously super focused on his season and everything. But you could just tell from his conversation that it was a little bit different. It was on his mind. Obviously, free agency was coming up. So, that’s kind of what it was. Just asking a friend about his current situation and what he thought.
Actually, no. It definitely was December. Because he made a comment to me. He was like, “New York might be real fun next year.” Because I hadn’t signed yet. And I was like, “Brother, I don’t know if they’re going to extend me or not.” He was like, “I think New York might be real fun next year.”
At the time, I was like, “You all going to the Knicks. That’s what’s happening. Are you and the monster going to the Knicks?”
That’s when I was first tipped off to the whole thing.
When he made the comment, that’s when I was like, “OK, things have changed.” Obviously at that point in time, it’s too early to be like he’s for sure leaving or he’s this, that or the third. But it’s just like, OK, something happened.
What happened in Boston? That’s the big question Irving has yet to answer.
Irving seemed checked out with the Celtics long before their season ended. It’s fair to question whether he was fully committed to winning with them.
There’s nothing wrong with Irving talking to Dinwiddie about New York as early as December. Irving faced a life-changing choice in free agency. Of course he was going to consider it throughout the season.
But in context of everything else that happened with Irving in Boston, this is more evidence he was pretty set on leaving for a long time.