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Rumor: Celtics, Kyrie Irving have ‘mutual understanding’ about long-term plans

Kyrie Irving swiftly turned down a contract extension from the Boston Celtics, claiming it was in his best interest not to take it and yield out an even more handsome check during the 2019 offseason, when the cap will once again balloon up.

Due to that and rumblings that Irving wants to team up with Jimmy Butler, the New York Knicks already lead the race as Kyrie’s potential team of choice, according to ESPN’s Summer Forecast. ESPN’s Kevin Arnovitz maintains that the Celtics and Irving have a mutual understanding of where their relationship is.

“My best intel is that the Celtics and Kyrie have a pretty good mutual understanding that he wasn’t going to get traded in the offseason and that there are long-term aspirations for both parties,” said Arnovitz. “Anything can happen over the course of an eight-month season, but I kind of like him staying.”

Irving’s resistance to hammer out a long-term agreement has created rumors of a potential departure for the Knicks, a team very high on his list when he initially requested a trade from the Cleveland Cavaliers.

According to ESPN, the Knicks are the slight favorite to get Irving at 46.9 percent, but the Celtics aren’t far behind with 43.8 percent. All of that could change over the course of the season, taking into account that the Celtics could set themselves up to dominate the Eastern Conference for years to come, thanks to the massive talent on this roster.

Irving does have roots in New Jersey and could potentially play close to home, but winning isn’t given in this league — and that is something he knows well after three awful LeBron James-less seasons in Cleveland to start his career.