Kyrie Irving may be playing his last game in green and white tonight. His Celtics are facing elimination as the Eastern Conference semifinals return to Milwaukee for Game 5 (8 p.m. EST, TNT).
While the Boston All-Star has scored at least 20 points in 3 games so far versus the Bucks, he’s shot under 40 percent in the last three contests (all losses). Meanwhile, he’s watching a burgeoning superstar in Giannis Antetokounmpo assert himself as the next big thing in the league.
This stark domination, plus various moments of dissatisfaction in Boston this season, has rumors bubbling that Irving is going to join forces with someone else this offseason. He can choose to deny a player option for 2019, putting him and his plus-$20 million/year contract on the open free agency market this summer.
Is this getting us closer to a reunion with LeBron James in Los Angeles? Let’s look at the latest that points to a yes.
Kyrie Irving Lakers Rumors & Future
Today’s latest comes from an unusual place. Ravens safety Tony Jefferson put it out there on Twitter that Kyrie to Los Angeles is a done deal. He didn’t provide sources, but cites that: “Kyrie and Lebron have hashed out differences kyrie now understands the true meaning of having a leader like Lebron.”
Jefferson has Southern California roots, as he is originally a San Diego native. However, he is not in LeBron’s inner circle, nor is represented by Klutch Sports. Take this one with a grain of salt, as it’s at best hearsay at this time.
Jefferson’s point about the repaired relationship between Irving and James has been corroborated by several insiders, as well as Irving himself. Bleacher Report’s Eric Pincus quoted Irving from January and expanded on it on Tuesday.
“I had to call [LeBron] and tell him I apologized for being that young player that wanted everything at his fingertips … I wanted to be the guy that led us to a championship. I wanted to be the leader. I wanted to be all that, and the responsibility of being the best in the world and leading your team is something that is not meant for many people.”
Irving acknowledged that he made mistakes and failed to see the bigger picture in Cleveland, focusing instead on stats and All-Star teams. Perhaps Irving doesn’t mind being Robin to LeBron’s Batman again.
Bobby Burack of The Big Lead says the drama between the two would only get worse in the bright lights of Los Angeles.
Not denying that the Lakers with Irving would be a good team with some serious star power. It’s that the unbelievably damaging drama that comes with James is sure to outweigh that. Oh, and Irving might be even more difficult to deal with than he was in Cleveland.
He instead points out that Irving should wait to see if Kevin Durant leaves Golden State for the Knicks.
Chris Broussard talked with Rob Parker on Fox Sports Radio about how Irving’s struggles this postseason should be evidence enough that he needs to join forces with LeBron if he wants another championship ring.
“Kyrie Irving is Exhibit A as to why some players need to get off their high horse and recognize that they should go play with LeBron James,” he said Tuesday.
The Irving offseason sweepstakes may be ready to hit its high gear should the Celtics bow out tonight at Fiserv Forum in Milwaukee. Right now, it looks like a classic Los Angeles versus New York battle.