Kyrie Irving’s future with the Boston Celtics remains very much up in the air, but recent chatter leaves the outlook somewhat bleak. No one will officially know what decision the 26-year-old point guard will make until after July 1. But according to one analyst, that decision may have already been made.
Although a lot can change quickly, especially considering Irving previously stated his intention to stay in Boston, Stephen A. Smith pulled no punches with recent comments. While on ESPN’s First Take, Smith said that it’s “not breaking news” that Irving will leave the Celtics in free agency.
“That Kyrie’s gone, that Kyrie Irving will not be in Boston next year. That’s the first thing that jumped in my mind. I mean that’s not breaking news, we all anticipate that the likelihood is that he’ll leave. There’s no guarantee, but we anticipate that that’s what’s going to be the case.” Smith stated.
These comments came when addressing Irving and the Celtics’ brutal 118-95 loss to the Toronto Raptors earlier this week. Smith also cited the fact that this isn’t Irving’s team, at least not in the way he originally wanted it to be.
Kyrie Irving Bound for Knicks?
With the New York Knicks clearing up cap space for two max deals in free agency, Irving became the topic of conversation for one. As for the second, that’s believed to be pegged for Golden State Warriors star Kevin Durant. So when Irving and Durant were seen chatting and laughing at the NBA All-Star Game, speculation ran wild.
Irving and the Knicks make sense, and the team reportedly believes they’ll have a real shot at him. As Marc Stein of the New York Times revealed on the Stephen A. Smith Show previously, the Knicks, along with the Brooklyn Nets, are set to “go after” him this summer, per Hoops Hype.
“The Knicks and the Nets, both New York teams, have believed quietly for a long time that they’re going to have a shot at Kyrie Irving in free agency. It’s not like the teams interested in him heard what he said in October and said ‘oh well, we’ve got no shot, Kyrie is staying in Boston.’ These teams are going to try … They will definitely go after Kyrie this summer.” Stein stated.
Celtics’ Recent Struggles
Not only has Boston lost four-straight games, but two of them have come by double digits. While Irving has led the team in scoring on three of the occasions, a 10-point loss to the Chicago Bulls and 23-point loss to the Raptors are both concerning for different reasons. The team now sits at 37-25 and has dropped in the standings behind the Philadelphia 76ers.
While the Sixers are jockeying for position with the Indiana Pacers for the No. 3 seed currently, the Celtics are three games back of Philly. If the season ended today, it would set up a first-round matchup between the two teams – a rematch of last season’s series which featured plenty of heated moments.