Kyrie Irving may already know where he is going to play next season.
The 27-year-old star is “prepared to sign” with the Nets, according to a report from the Boston Herald, which cites multiple unidentified sources. The report notes “anything involving Irving should be seen as a fluid matter” as he could still change his mind after free agency begins June 30.
Irving has continually been linked with the Nets. They reportedly created an additional $18 million in cap space earlier this month by sending the No. 17 pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, a protected first-round selection in 2020 and Allen Crabbe to the Hawks in exchange for Taurean Prince.
The Celtics acquired Irving in a blockbuster deal with the Cavaliers in August 2017. He averaged 23.8 points and 6.9 assists for Boston this season, but his chances of re-signing with the team are reportedly “low.”
Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge said in early June he hadn’t received any “indication” Irving is planning to leave.
“There’s not much I can say about that, honestly,” Ainge told reporters at the time. “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 Nets exceeded expectations last season and reached the playoffs for the first time since 2014-15. They were topped by the 76ers in five games in their first-round series.
The Lakers and Knicks are also expected to pursue Irving this summer.