Celtics star Kyrie Irving is one of the prizes of free agency, 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...
June 28, 9:30 AM:
With the Lakers able to fit one max free agent under the cap now that they've completed the Anthony Davis trade, Kyrie Irving remains at the top of their list along with Kawhi Leonard, reports Marc Stein of The New York Times, who says the Lakers are "swinging for the fences."
June 12, 8:13 PM:
According to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, Irving has decided to part ways with agent Jeff Wechsler, who has represented him since his rookie season. He is expected to partner with Roc Nation, which, of course, was founded by New York native Jay-Z. Interestingly enough, though, Roc Nation's president Michael Yormark is the twin brother of Nets CEO Brett Yormark, and Caris LeVert is another Roc Nation client.
Reports circulated earlier in the day that Irving will opt out of his current contract with the Celtics. Now, just 18 days from when free agents can begin meeting with teams, Irving has changed his representation.
June 12, 11:56 AM:
It looks like Irving has made his decision.
According to The Athletic's Shams Charania, Irving will not opt back into his $21.3 million deal for next season with the Celtics. He will now become a free agent, where NBA teams including Boston can sign him to a new deal.
This move was an expected one from Irving. He had an option date on Thursday.
The Nets are currently the most likely destination for Irving, per SNY Ian Begley's sources.
June 4, 7:46 PM:
According to ESPN's Stephen A. Smith, Kyrie Irving has "given every indication" to the Brooklyn Nets that he prefers to go there instead of the New York Knicks. SNY's Anthony Puccio reported on May 25 that there was mutual interest between Irving and the Nets.
May 14, 4:05 PM:
After Marc Stein said (with the caveat that it was "third-hand stuff") that he heard that Durant and Irving would look just as hard at the Nets as the Knicks, Stephen A. Smith (during his show) interjected and said the following:
"I heard that about Kyrie, not about KD. Kyrie and his folks -- his folks are trying to convince him to look heavily at the Nets."
Smith then reiterated what he said earlier this week -- there is a "95 percent chance" Durant and Irving sign with the Knicks.
May 14, 10:57 AM:
After a frustrating season, Terry Rozier shed some light Tuesday on what it's like to play with Kyrie Irving while admitting that it was "very difficult" to adjust to his role with Irving back in the mix.
"He's a great guy, great leader," Rozier said on ESPN's "Get Up!" "You just have to adjust to his style. Whatever Kyrie wants done, he's gonna show it. That's what he wants done. You have to adjust to his style of play and how he goes about every game and every day."
May 13, 12:01 PM:
According to ESPN's Stephen A. Smith, there is a '95 percent' chance that Irving and Kevin Durant come to New York, with the only thing casting any doubt would be a change of heart from Durant. Smith also said he got a text from someone close to Irving's family which said, "There's no way in hell he's going to LA." Recent rumors have suggested Irving could be open to a reunion with LeBron James on the Lakers.
May 11 1:02 PM:
Bill Simmons of The Ringer said on his podcast Friday that he "heard a rumor" that the reason the Lakers' negotiation with Ty Lue deteriorated was because of his fractured relationship with Irving, not because of his contract.
Simmons admits he does not know if it is true, but Irving being linked to the Lakers has gained some steam in recent days. ESPN's Brian Windhorst said on ESPN Radio that an Irving reunion with James should not be discounted.
"I would've said that this is impossible for many months. But as time passes here and as the possibility exists that Jason Kidd could be hired as the Lakers coach, I think the possibility of Kyrie and LeBron reuniting - that door, which was deadbolted, has been un-deadbolted and has now been cracked open," Windhorst said. "… It might even be opening more by the day. And I say that just because I think it's on Kyrie's radar, it's on Kyrie's board. He has had discussions with people about playing for the Lakers."
May 9, 6:44 PM: Stadium's Jeff Goodman released an article on Thursday that has an anonymous Celtics player that had some things to say about Irving.
"Everyone respects his talent," the player said earlier in the season, "but he's hard to play with. It's all about him."
A Cavs source also told Goodman that Irving "doesn't want to listen to anybody." If Irving does leave the Celtics, the Knicks will need to keep these accounts in mind.
May 9, 1:48 PM: As Irving beings to weigh his offseason decision, his teammates are here sticking up for him. Marcus Smart was asked by reporters if Irving was a "divisive leader," and Smart didn't hold back in his response.
"That's just a bulls--t statement to say (Kyrie Irving's) leadership killed this team," Smart told CLNS's Scott Souza. "There are four other guys out there. There are 13 other guys on the team, coaches and everything. To just blame it on one guy is bulls--t."
Smart added that he looks at the All-Star point guard "as a brother."
May 9, 1:30 PM:
Two days after Caesars gave the Nets the best odds to sign Irving (see below), Odds Shark released odds that gave the Knicks the best odds:
Irving, whose Celtics were eliminated from the playoffs on Wednesday night, spoke after the game about his future and gave no indication what he was planning to do.
May 7, 2:29 PM:
While the Knicks have been the New York team linked to Irving the most, the Nets have a better shot to land him, according to odds released by Caesars.
Those odds list the Nets at +250, the Knicks at +300, the Celtics at +350, the Lakers at +750, and Clippers at +1000.
May 7, 10:30 AM:
ESPN analyst Jalen Rose believes Irving's tenure in Boston is coming to an end, with the Celtics on the verge of being eliminated from the playoffs.
"Now, the [Celtics] chosen to give the ball to Kyrie to take them home," Rose said on "Get Up". "He's shown that he can't be the best player on a contending team. And I agree with you, he's done in Boston. You ready for this? His teammates will help him pack. They can't wait for him to leave."
May 1, 1:12 PM:
During an interview with the New York Times' Marc Stein, Jared Dudley was asked about the Nets' big offseason and specifically Irving. Irving could stay with the Celtics, but there's been buzz that he could bounce and team up with Kevin Durant on a team like the Knicks.
But Dudley believes Brooklyn will also be considered, saying, "I would be shocked if the Nets don't get a sit-down."
April 12, 11:28 AM:
Celtics president Danny Ainge said nothing that has transpired this season has changed his thinking that he wants to lock Irving up to a long-term deal, according to Sports Illustrated's Chris Mannix, adding he thinks the Celtics beginning their playoff run may help Irving remember how close Boston was to making the NBA Finals last season.
"I don't think free agency is wearing on him," Ainge said. "I think that not being able to live up to expectations as a team is wearing on him more than that. But I feel like he's in a good place. And ending the season and starting the playoffs I feel like his mind is in a fresher place than it was a few weeks ago, and I'm looking forward to great things with Kyrie."
Though Irving had previously walked back his preseason intentions of re-signing a long-term deal with the Celtics by saying "Ask me July 1," Irving said this week he felt a lot of the questions he dealt with throughout this season were "a lot of bulls---.
"All you guys (media), all the questions -- everything that comes with it is just so irrelevant to what I do on the court and how hard I work every single day," Irving told reporters this week.
April 8, 7:38 PM:
Irving will reportedly grant an interview with the Lakers, according to ESPN's Stephen A. Smith, when he hits free agency. Not only would the Lakers be competing with the Knicks to land Irving, but it would give him a chance to reunite with LeBron James.
Irving demanded a trade from the Cavaliers because of James' leadership prior to the 2017-18 season, however it wasn't until this past January when, amid the Celtics' struggles, Irving called James to apologize and reconcile.
March 11, 3:06 PM:
In a wide-ranging interview with Chris Haynes of Yahoo! Sports, Irving apologized for the way he's handled himself at times.
Irving, whose actions in the locker room and on the bench with the Celtics have led to fodder about his future, said he wants to take responsibility.
"I just want to make sure this locker room understands who I am and what I represent," Irving said, among many other things.
March 4, 7:32 PM:
Irving has become more and more "disengaged and detached from those around the team," The Ringer's Kevin O'Connor wrote, and that feeling began last month amid the increasing rumors that Irving would leave Boston to go to the Knicks this summer.
Before a Knicks-Celtics game in February, Irving notoriously walked back his October comments, when he expressed his desire to re-sign a long-term deal with Boston, by telling reporters, "I don't owe anybody s---" and saying "Ask me July 1" about his impending free agency.
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.