The NBA’s next superteam could pair Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving together.
According to Ric Bucher of Bleacher Report, Durant and Irving have met twice in recent weeks to discuss their shared desire to play together on the same NBA team. Irving met Durant in the Bay Area while he was recovering from a calf strain, then again in New York after Durant’s surgery on his ruptured Achilles.
One issue is that Irving wants to go to the Brooklyn Nets, while there is some belief that Durant would prefer to play for the New York Knicks. Bucher reports that Irving has been actively trying to recruit Durant to the Nets with him.
It is also noted that interested teams would prefer to make Irving and Durant a package deal, feeling that putting Irving in a situation where he is not the obvious best player on the team would help avoid a repeat of the leadership dynamic that failed spectacularly in Boston.
Perhaps this is inspiring the Nets’ thinking that they have a real shot at Durant. It sounds as if the two players are determined to play together, but there might be a tug-of-war as to which team it will be on.
It’s quite clear that the relationship between Kyrie Irving and the Boston Celtics went sour over the course of the last year, but there are a lot of potential explanations as to why.
According to ESPN’s Jackie MacMullan, it’s all quite simple. In an appearance on Friday’s The Hoop Collective Podcast, she said that Irving did not enjoy living in Boston and fell out with pretty much everyone around him.
“The part of the thing is Kyrie Irving didn’t like Boston,” MacMullan said, via RealGM. “I’ve been told this by many people. He didn’t like living in Boston. He just didn’t. By the end, he had issues with Brad (Stevens). By the end he had issues with Danny (Ainge). By the end he had issues with pretty much all of us.”
Irving appears to have his mind made up. According to reports, he’s been pretty open about leaving Boston, and already seems to have his next destination in mind. The Celtics took a risk in acquiring Irving, and it’s looking like his two-year tenure with Boston is going to end up being an unhappy memory for many involved.
- Kyrie Irving
The Brooklyn Nets are viewed as a heavy favorite to sign Kyrie Irving when NBA free agency begins, but their real goal this offseason is to land two star players. If Irving is the only one who wants to join them, they may just abandon the plan altogether.
Appearing on “Get Up” Wednesday morning, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski indicated that the Nets may not want Irving if they can’t pair him with another star free agent, such as Kevin Durant.
Woj on Get Up this morning reiterating Nets goal is to bring in Kyrie Irving with another star, namely Kevin Durant. Also says "It'll be interesting to see if Nets are sold on Kyrie as a solo act" If they're not he says they could just bring back DLo if they wanted. pic.twitter.com/xhifPWPwdp
— The Brooklyn Grit (@TheBrooklynGrit) June 19, 2019
“If they don’t get a second star, it will be interesting to see if Brooklyn wants to have Kyrie Irving as a solo act,” Wojnarowski said. “That didn’t go so great in Boston last year. We’ll see if Brooklyn is following through on just Kyrie Irving.”
If the Nets are unable to secure a commitment from another star free agent, Wojnarowski notes that they may decide they would prefer to bring back restricted free agent D’Angelo Russell on a much more team-friendly deal than the one Irving would sign. Russell, 23, is coming off a breakout year in which he averaged 21.1 points and 7.0 assists per game and made his first All-Star team. The former No. 2 pick looked like an emerging star in his second season in Brooklyn, and the Nets currently have a solid young core that won 42 games.
It’s unclear where Irving might sign if the Nets get cold feet, though he seems to have already ruled out one team.
Several signs have pointed to Kyrie Irving leaving the Boston Celtics this summer for a new team, with the Brooklyn Nets frequently mentioned as a top contender for him. Now a prominent reporter says Irving is likely to sign with Brooklyn.
Minutes after The Boston Herald’s Steve Bulpett reported Tuesday that Al Horford was expected to leave the Celtics this summer, The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported that the Celtics are preparing to lose both Horford and Irving. Charania reports that Irving is likely to sign with the Nets.
Irving has been communicative and forthright with top Celtics officials since the season ended, with private and public signals that he will leave the organization in free agency — likely for the Brooklyn Nets, league sources tell @TheAthleticNBA @Stadium. https://t.co/EupfcYxhsg
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) June 18, 2019
The news on Irving is expected at this point. One report even says he has ghosted the Celtics, meaning he hasn’t been communicating with the team. That’s what players tend to do when they’re preparing for an exit.
Irving’s two-year stint with the Celtics did not go the way both sides would have hoped, and Irving’s leadership has been called into question after he failed to deliver on his season-full of promises. A new start for Irving elsewhere may be best. But him signing with Brooklyn would have significant consequences for their roster.
As his free agency approaches, Kyrie Irving appears to be leaving the Boston Celtics on read.
Adam Himmelsbach of the Boston Globe reported on Monday that the All-Star guard seems to essentially be ghosting the Celtics and has had little, if any, communication with the organization in recent weeks.
The 27-year-old Irving has already informed the team that he does not plan to pick up his $21.3 million player option for next season, paving the way for him to potentially leave as a free agent.
One division rival is already lurking as a possible Irving destination, and the Celtics can’t be encouraged by Uncle Drew’s radio silence of late either.
- Kyrie Irving
The Boston Celtics are looking to get clarity on Kyrie Irving’s future as quickly as possible.
According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, the Celtics will meet with Irving in the near future to discuss his plans for free agency. That meeting could come before the NBA Draft on Thursday.
Irving has unsurprisingly elected to opt out of his current deal, and the two sides will want to know each other’s thinking before free agency officially begins on June 30.
This will end up being a big moment in Boston’s offseason. The franchise is stuck at a crossroads right now while waiting for Irving’s decision. If he re-signs with the Celtics, they can make an aggressive run at a championship, but his departure would probably require them to refocus and build around their talented core of young players.
Right now, buzz has grown around Irving potentially signing with one potential East rival. The Celtics will definitely want some clarity on that as quickly as possible.
The trade that sent Anthony Davis to the Los Angeles Lakers on Saturday will have a ripple effect across the NBA, and one of the most interesting storylines to follow will be the potential impact it has on Kyrie Irving’s future. As of very recently, Irving reportedly expressed a desire to play with Davis.
David Aldridge of The Athletic reports that sources have told him “for months” that Irving wants to play with Davis. Of course, Davis is now teammates with LeBron James. The primary reason Irving forced his way out of Cleveland was that he was tired of being in LeBron’s shadow, but perhaps his mindset has changed after a tumultuous season with the Boston Celtics.
Irving’s top choice is said to be the Brooklyn Nets, but there has also been a lot of talk about him wanting to team up with Kevin Durant. With Durant expected to miss the entire 2019-20 season while rehabbing from a torn Achilles, it would not be a surprise if Irving adjusts his approach to free agency accordingly.
LeBron may have hinted on social media recently that he wants to play with Irving again, but it’s unclear if that feeling is mutual. A trio of LeBron, Irving and Davis would be tough for Western Conference teams to stop.