Storyline: Kyrie Irving Free Agency

68 rumors in this storyline

Up in the land of Kyrie, Knicks coach David Fizdale gave his strongest case yet that the Knicks have become an attractive free-agent destination after 25 games on the job. The Knicks are closing in on having cap space for a maximum salary this summer but have work to do. Celtics point guard Kyrie Irving, a Northern Jersey product, was considered their best chance until he proclaimed he will re-sign, but that is no guarantee after the Celtics’ sluggish start. Irving’s backup, Terry Rozier, is also a restricted free agent, and the two of them may not be able to coexist long term. The Knicks like Rozier a lot, according to a source.

More Rumors in this Storyline

The Knicks are closing in on having cap space for a maximum salary this summer but have work to do. Celtics point guard Kyrie Irving, a Northern Jersey product, was considered their best chance until he proclaimed he will re-sign, but that is no guarantee after the Celtics’ sluggish start. Irving’s backup, Terry Rozier, is also a restricted free agent, and the two of them may not be able to coexist long term. The Knicks like Rozier a lot, according to a source.

Irving, 26, and from nearby West Orange, N.J., is the type of electrifying floor leader the Knicks have coveted since Walt Frazier. Or at least since Mark Jackson was competing for playing time with Irving’s godfather, Rod Strickland. In their wildest dreams, the Knicks envision a lineup featuring – drum roll, please — Irving, a healthy Porzingis and Kevin Durant. (We did say dream.) If you thought LeBron’s home debut on Saturday in Los Angeles was a big deal, just image the hysteria next October if the Knicks pull that one off. “Kyrie can play anywhere and deal with any type of pressure,” Strickland said over the telephone.

Kyrie Irving publicly committed earlier this month to re-signing with the Celtics, but the All-Star point guard admits he would have given “strong consideration” to joining up with David Fizdale, Kristaps Porzingis and the Knicks as a free agent next summer. “I mean, every team was under consideration, but obviously New York held a special place for me,” Irving said after Boston edged the Knicks, 103-101, Saturday night at the Garden. “Just being from [New] Jersey and envisioning myself as a free agent and ultimately taking a meeting and playing for Fiz and the great young core they have here, thinking about playing with KP, that was a big thing before I made my decision to sign back — or, I don’t want to get in trouble, to plan on re-signing back — with Boston. “But yeah, of course, New York was a strong consideration.”

If they do, the Celtics will be one of the obvious suitors, with Brown, Marcus Smart, Terry Rozier, Robert Williams and/or a number of future picks including a possible top-five selection to dangle. Even if Tatum’s off the table, Boston would be able to field a competitive offer. Several league sources have said they believe Davis could end up either with the Celtics or Lakers if the Pelicans were to move him. If he landed with the Celtics, he’d be reunited with former Team USA teammate Irving. The two have already spoken about what it would be like to play together in Boston, according to a league source.

According to a league source, Irving had initiated brief conversations with Celtics officials in recent days in which he indicated he was “pretty confident” he wants to re-sign with the team this summer after opting out of the final year of his current deal. The Celtics believed Irving wanted to be a Celtic, but there hadn’t really been recent in-depth chats about the matter. When the Celtics were almost caught off-guard by the sudden pronouncement, Irving told them he just wanted them to know exactly how he felt.

Irving also informed the Celtics he wanted to make his sentiment public. According to a league source, he said he would declare it during his group interview with the media prior to Thursday’s fan event. The scrum was held in front of a green tarp in the visitors’ locker room at TD Garden, and Irving spoke for nearly nine minutes. He talked about his sore ribs and his business aspirations, but he did not mention anything about his future in Boston. (Although, in fairness, he was not asked.) He did not tell the Celtics he had another approach in mind, however.

And finally, Irving touched on his impending free agency this summer. “To be in a position to even be considered a franchise free agent is pretty awesome,” he said. “At this point in my career, it’s not so much about the money, it’s not so much about the extra curricular things, it’s like OK, where am I happy? Where am I most comfortable? Who’s going to give me that [atmosphere] where I would love to grow as a human being? I spent more time with my teammates than I do with my family and you want to be in a place where thinking about starting over again, obviously that’s what the thing you think about.

Of course, Irving did not commit to Boston, did not sign any mega-deal, did not make anything official. But for Knicks fans dreaming of Irving as one of their max players next summer, it was a blow. “Who wouldn’t want to be part of [Boston’s future], honestly?” Irving told ESPN in a sitdown with him and Gordon Hayward. “The future is very, very bright in Boston. Even if I ever think about that thought of going elsewhere, it’s like, what are you thinking? We’re pretty f’in good here. We’re pretty f’in good not just for this year but for years to come. I’m looking forward to that.”

Ainge is getting no additional pleasure from the fact Irving is talking more about his future in Boston beyond this season in recent interviews. This after being fairly coy about his plans after he does as expected and opts out of his deal next summer to sign a more lucrative and lengthy contract. “I don’t think that’s ever a change of tune,” Ainge said. “I’ve talked to Kyrie a lot. Maybe he’s changed his tune with you (media), but he has been very positive from the day he got here. I talk to Kyrie all the time, his representation. I think Kyrie is very happy here in Boston, always has been. That will hopefully make this a place he wants to stay much longer once the season ends.”
3 months ago via ESPN

Irving said he’s aware that he’s been linked to Jimmy Butler in persistent free-agent rumors regarding a mutual desire to play together in New York, but he said he’s had no such discussions with Butler. In fact, he said, the last time he talked to Butler at length was when they were both playing with USA Basketball, and the two engaged in a spitballing session along with Durant and Cousins about what the future held for each of them. “And that,” Irving laughed, “was in 2016.”
3 months ago via ESPN

“I’m accepting it’s going to be a constant story,” Irving shrugs. “It’s a point in my professional career where it is a big-time decision. I’ve been away from Cleveland officially for a year now, and I’m finally getting acclimated in Boston. “Last year it was almost like a trial. There was a lot going on. It was overwhelming at times, to be honest. The focus needed to be directed on getting better and helping my new team win a championship, instead of focusing on all the outside noise (regarding his departure from Cleveland) that affected me personally.”

Teammates have noted that Irving sometimes hunts out more difficult finishes than he needs as a way of testing his limits. While working out, Irving also tries to push himself — for example, he will play 1-on-1 games where he can only finish with his left hand off the glass. The idea of taking on more challenging leadership responsibilities, which the Celtics empower everyone to do, excites him. “How much it sharpens your focus to have to lead young guys, and how much joy he takes in doing that — that’s fun for him because it’s not easy and he knows it’s not easy,” said the source. “And so he’s intrigued by the cerebral aspect of leadership, that he has to talk to this guy differently than he speaks to that guy.”

The Celtics are reportedly optimistic about re-signing Kyrie Irving in unrestricted free agency next summer. But they’ll face competition. A. Sherrod Blakey of NBC Sports Boston the Bulls Talk podcast: I can tell you right now, the New York Knicks, he is their No. 1 target. I’ve spoken with people within that organization. They have made it absolutely crystal clear to me that, if they had their pick of guys that are going to be in the free agent market this summer, Kyrie would be their first, second, third and fourth choice.

Adrian Wojnarowski: “I do think this: I think the Knicks will get somebody next year. I think the Knicks have put themselves in position where there’s gonna be enough movement – I think that max slot, like, it’s not going to be a Phil Jackson was gonna spend on Joakim Noah [situation]. I think they get a real one – I don’t know which one it is, but I think they’re in position to get a guy. They’d love for it to be Kyrie Irving but I still think Boston is in position, from top to bottom, if he’s healthy, and that team achieves, I still think it’s gonna be really hard [for Irving] to walk away from.”

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.”

A year out from what could be an enormous 2019 free agency in the NBA, there are rumors about the next potential super-team. Two league sources told Business Insider that there is a buzz about the Boston Celtics’ Kyrie Irving and the Minnesota Timberwolves’ Jimmy Butler teaming up next summer, with one source saying the chatter is “substantial.” Both sources also said the New York Knicks and Brooklyn Nets could be well-positioned to land the two players if they are indeed keen on teaming up.

Q. Kyrie Irving is going to be a free agent after the upcoming season. Obviously, he requested a trade from his previous team. Did you ever sit down with him to see what he wants in a basketball environment? Brad STEVENS: Yeah, we talk all the time about that stuff. But I think at the end of the day one of the things that he was really consistent with was he wanted to be in a situation where everybody was excited about the opportunity to compete to win. He came from a winning situation and he came from a situation where they were able to win a championship. And I think like anybody else he wants that feeling again. But I got the impression he really enjoyed it here. I know the end of the season was really hard for him. It would be hard for anybody. But he’s been great.

Q: Talking about July 1, you’ve never been an unrestricted free agent. Are you looking forward to that process? Kyrie Irving: It could be a process. Or, even considering that time it seems like a long ways away. So, it’s just like — you’ve definitely seen it, observed it, other players have gone through it. At the end of the day, you just can’t let anything infiltrate exactly where your focus is. A lot of your attention could be distracted in other areas. And we’ve seen things — our platform now, in terms of what the NBA entails, they could just draw one word and sentences start becoming whole diatribes of what he actually meant.
6 months ago via ESPN

At a Q&A to promote his upcoming movie, Uncle Drew, Kyrie Irving answered some questions about basketball. He said he’s already heard from Knicks fans – and fans of other teams – about his free agency in 2019. Irving, who stars as Uncle Drew in the movie, says he’s heard from fans on social media and in public who’ve talked to him about his free agency. “It’s already starting,” said Irving, whose movie will be released on Friday. “As long as I could just divide the attention up and it just doesn’t infiltrate what I’m focused on during the season than I’m cool with it.”

How confident are you that you’ll be a Celtic long term? Kyrie Irving: We have an incredible organization. I think we’ve positioned ourselves for the future, and we’re taking steps in the right direction. I’ve been transparent with [Celtics general manager and president of basketball operations] Danny Ainge. Transparent with the ownership of what my intentions are going into this season. And after the season, what conversations are going to be needed to have in order for us to get on the same page. What I really want, which is to bring our team, all of us together, to a championship with us all being healthy. That’s where my focus is, and when that time comes, I’ll be ready to answer.

Same applies with this summer’s free agency and the ensuing trade deadline. There have been enough opportunities punted away for fantasy. Don’t draft Sam Bowie over Michael Jordan because Clyde Drexler is already on the roster. With that being said, the Knicks have taken the right approach by, according to sources, targeting free agency in 2019. It’s simply a product of circumstance. They are positioned to have cap space and it just so happens Kyrie Irving will be a free agent.

Kyrie Irving: Eyes on New York?

Kyrie Irving can be a free agent in 2019 and the Boston Celtics may retain Terry Rozier until they receive a commitment from Irving. Rozier is scheduled to be a restricted free agent in 2019 as well. “I think they’re scared,” said Chris Mannix. “I think they’re scared and should be scared to some degree of Kyrie Irving walking in 2019. I know he had a great year, but you know there are people in Cleveland that will tell you that the Knicks should be considered a real threat for Kyrie Irving. Because Kyrie had talked about it, about playing with the Knicks with some players in that Cleveland locker room from what I was told.

Knicks fans can only dream Irving will bring his talents to the Garden when he’s a free agent in 2019 and the Knicks next have cap space. Irving put the Knicks (24-37) on his short wish list over the summer and said during All-Star weekend he told Kristaps Porzingis he’d “love to play with a big like you.” “Playing in the Mecca is always fun — it has a way of bringing out the best in people,” Irving said afterward. “It’s a hard matchup because a lot of people come to see the Knicks play. You just want to play well on a floor like this.”
More HoopsHype Rumors
December 13, 2018 | 2:31 am EST Update
This chatter fills sports talk radio shows, Twitter debates, message boards, broadcast airwaves, and more. The noise also ramps up when Leonard goes to places he has been linked, such as Los Angeles. “I focus on what we’re doing,” Leonard said of his reaction to all the speculation prior to his Raptors knocking off the Clippers Tuesday night (without him due to a sore hip). “I don’t buy into reading media, don’t have no social media, so just focus on what’s in front of me. At that time it’s either my family or playing basketball.” Does what is being said bother him? “Not at all. I don’t watch TV too much,” Leonard said, adding he uses apps to watch movies and TV shows.
Storyline: Kawhi Leonard Free Agency
“What I have to do is install this thing and play in the right way to go where I want to go, and outside noise, it’s always going to be there, is part of this job and this business. I just take this as a challenge,” said Boylen, who worked for the San Antonio Spurs for a couple of seasons under coach Greg Popovich before arriving in Chicago in 2015. “In San Antonio, they have standards of behavior and standards of play, and we are establishing those in here, but we can’t do that without practicing, and we cannot do that without being pushed. We are in a different place, nothing wrong with that, but we are going to work hard,” Boylen said.
For the first time, Markkanen addressed his thinking, which led to two hours of team meetings to hash out an emotional first week under new coach Jim Boylen. “I wanted to have my opinion and let players know what I think,” Markkanen told the Tribune on Wednesday. “I think I can be one of the leaders of the team. That’s what I suggested. That’s how it went.”
Storyline: Chicago Bulls Turmoil?
Before Wednesday’s game, Heat coach Erik Spoelstra noted in rather strong terms a big reason he feels the Jazz have been inconsistent thus far, and also made a prediction about the rest of their season. “With Utah, I just think everybody’s overlooking something that nobody wants to hear about: Their schedule has been outrageous,” he said. “They’ve basically lived in a hotel for the first six weeks of the season. Come talk to me in two months and we’ll see what their record is. I think they’ll be climbing up that Western Conference pretty quickly.”