Celtics star Kyrie Irving can be a free agent after the season, and the idea that he could team up with fellow free agent Kevin Durant on the Knicks this summer has picked up steam since the Kristaps Porzingis trade cleared two max slots for New York. Here are the latest rumors...
Feb. 20, 12:27 PM: During a television interview with ESPN's Rachel Nichols, Irving addressed what it's like to have everyone talking about him and his impending free agency, describing it as a "distraction."
"The talks don't stop. The talks follow the great players in the league, and I'm appreciative and grateful to be one of those great players in our league now," Irving said. "I've worked my way to get here, and honestly, all that goes with the free-agent talk is really a distraction.
"A lot of people don't realize on the outside that a lot of things that are said get into locker rooms. A lot of things that are put in headlines get into locker rooms. (The) media has broken up locker rooms, it's been done before. Like where, you say something and it's misinterpreted, and instead of addressing it with the person or individual like human interaction, you read it on your phone. You read it on a text - somebody says that, 'Hey, did you see what this person said about you?' and it's your teammate. And you're like, 'Wait, I didn't hear that.' Then you hold back, don't say anything to him and throughout the season it ends up coming out again.
"That's not the way life is supposed to go. It's a unique position, but I'm appreciative that I can have this understanding now. It's fun, but at the same time, goodness, it's energy-taxing."
Feb. 14, 12:47 PM:
The Celtics believe Klutch Sports, whose staff includes Anthony Davis' agent Rich Paul, spread rumors about Irving's potential interest in the Knicks after their blockbuster Porzingis trade cleared enough cap space for New York to land two max free agents, according to the New York Post's Justin Terranova.
Although the Celtics were interested in trading for Davis, they believe Paul's camp spread rumors to convince Davis' current team, the New Orleans Pelicans, that it wouldn't receive a significant trade offer in the offseason should Davis not want to sign a long-term deal with Boston.
Feb. 8, 12:05 PM:
Although Irving walked back his intentions to re-sign with Boston by saying "Ask me July 1" last Friday, Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge said he believes the "engagement is still on."
"The way I viewed the situation is that I think a lot of people, because of Kyrie's announcement at the beginning of the year, thought that it was a marriage," Ainge said Friday on 98.5 The Sports Hub. "And I think that it's more like an engagement. And we're going to get married on July 1st. ... In my individual conversations with Kyrie, we're still engaged but we really can't make those vows, sign that contract until July 1st."
Feb. 6, 10:26 AM:
The Celtics remain "cautiously optimistic" that Irving will re-sign with them after the season, though comments Irving recently made about being undecided as well as the looming threat of the Knicks have "shaken" the Celtics, reports Zach Lowe of ESPN.
Lowe notes that others around the league are far less confident about Irving remaining in Boston.
Feb. 1, 12:01 PM:
Irving walked back his comments from October about planning to stay with the Celtics, saying before a game against the Knicks that "At the end of the day, I'm going to do what's best for my career. ... I don't owe anybody s--t."
"Ask me July 1," Irving said about where he might end up when he hits free agency.
In October, Irving said he planned to re-sign a long-term deal with the Celtics, saying he wanted his No. 11 hanging in the rafters.