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Kyrie Irving could wind up being odd man out of Boston’s stacked roster

Kyrie Irving, Celtics

Kyrie Irving has decided to bet on himself by not taking on contract extension talks this summer with the Boston Celtics.

The move makes sense, as he stands to make a whopping $80 million more by waiting until next season, where he could make $188 million over the next five years, much like other free agents in the class of 2019.

Yet, this would put the Celtics in a sticky predicament, as having a star-studded roster only means having to dole out the money accordingly.

A starting five of Irving, Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum, Gordon Hayward, and Al Horford is only manageable for now due to Brown and Tatum’s team-friendly rookie contracts, but keeping them from becoming restricted free agents will come at a cost — one that would prove too hard to maneuver, even with an expanding salary cap in the next few years.

Irving has yet to commit to this franchise and looking into the future doesn’t do this roster any favors when it comes to staying together, let alone attracting any other talent to Bean Town.

Per Tim Bontemps of The Washington Post:

“Using the current future cap projections, if Irving, Brown and Tatum all sign five-year maxes and Horford and Hayward sign at a discount (say, $25 million and $30 million per year, respectively), Boston would be looking at paying five players a total of $153 million.

Even if the rest of the roster was filled out with players making the minimum (which it would not be), that would leave Boston with a payroll of nearly $169 million – and, more importantly, almost $25 million over the current projected luxury tax line of $144.4 million. Considering Boston would all but have to be paying the repeater tax that season in this scenario, that would put Boston’s payroll at an astronomical $254 million – a number that would only keep going up.”

Keeping this core as it is, would prove near impossible, or rather make this payroll scenario implode into New York Yankees territory due to the gigantic nature of it.

The Celtics could still cash in on a talent in his prime, one that has had a history of injury problems, but remains highly sought after.

Irving could bolt for the hometown New York Knicks by the next offseason or either of the L.A. teams, according to how this offseason plays out — making it a rather sensible move to ponder as this July 1 free agency window nears.