Kyrie Irving appears like he’ll be playing for a new team next season.
The 27-year-old star, who will almost certainly opt out of his contract and become a free agent this summer, isn’t expected to re-sign with the Celtics, according to a report from SNY’s Ian Begley.
The report adds:
His plans/desires today may not be the same as they are on June 30 (when free agency begins). With that said, in recent days, people around Irving have described the probability of him returning to Boston as a free agent as low.
The Celtics acquired Irving in a blockbuster trade with the Cavaliers in August 2017. He averaged 23.8 points and 6.9 assists for Boston this season.
Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge said he hasn’t received any “indication” that Irving is planning to leave.
“There’s not much I can say about that, honestly,” Ainge said, via NBC Sports Boston. “There’s ongoing conversations. We’ll have to wait and see what happens.”
Ainge added he had no regrets about acquiring Irving, regardless of what happens this offseason.
“There’s always risk in making deals. We’re not afraid of risks,” Ainge said. “We made a risk by trading for Kyrie. And no matter what happens with Kyrie, I’ll never regret that. Just move on to the next deal.”
The Celtics entered the season as the favorites in the East, but they finished with a 49-33 record and fell to the Bucks in five games in the conference semifinals.
“The whole Kyrie thing, it’s unfortunate that one person gets credit or blame for a team’s failures,” Ainge said. “We had a lot of reasons why the team didn’t succeed this year. And Kyrie deserves his share of the blame but not any more than anybody else. There’s a lot of guys that didn’t handle things the right way.”
Irving has repeatedly been linked to the Knicks and Nets. He has also become “more open” to signing with the Lakers, according to an earlier report from ESPN.
Irving and Lakers star LeBron James won a championship together while they were teammates with the Cavaliers from 2014-17.
Irving reportedly wanted a bigger role and asked Cleveland to trade him before he was eventually sent to the Celtics. Irving, however, said he apologized to James during a phone call in late January.