Report: Kyrie Irving becomes a free agent after not opting into $21.3 million deal for 2019-20 with Celtics
Boston Celtics point guard Kyrie Irving will officially become a free agent after not opting into his $21.3 million deal for the 2019-20 season, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium. The Celtics had been expecting this for a long time ahead of Irving’s option date on Thursday.
Irving could still re-sign with Boston, but all the signs have been pointing to his exit after a drama-filled season resulted in a second-round exit. The point guard was at the center of much of that drama, as there were questions abound about his leadership style.
While may of the rumors throughout the season suggested Irving would be teaming up with Kevin Durant with the New York Knicks this summer, the Brooklyn Nets have since become the favorite to nab Irving. A reunion with LeBron James with the Los Angeles Lakers has also been rumored, though that seems unlikely at this point.
Durant’s Achilles injury could throw a wrench into team-up plans, but it still seems like a good bet that Irving will be leaving Boston. The Celtics could still try to swing a trade for Anthony Davis in an attempt to convince Irving to stay, but Davis’ refusal to commit to Boston for the long haul and Kyrie’s own question marks may cool them on that plan.
For all the headaches, Irving is still a terrific player when healthy. The 27-year-old averaged 23.8 points, 6.9 assists and 5.0 rebounds in 33.0 minutes per game this season. He has dealt with injury problems throughout his career and struggled in this year’s playoffs, but he remains a top point guard option in his prime.