Celtics’ Kyrie Irving is not opting into his $21.3 million deal for next season and will become a free agent eligible to sign a new contract with Boston or elsewhere, league sources tell @TheAthleticNBA @Stadium.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) June 12, 2019
This move is not surprising giving the drama that has surrounded both the Celtics and Irving. But, what does this mean for Irving and how will this impact teams in pursuit of him? Let’s analyze this move.
Kyrie Irving is in Full Control
Irving was unhappy with the Celtics. A combination of beef with now-former teammate Terry Rozier, the Celtics’ early exit from the playoffs, and questionable leadership made things muddy for him. With Irving opting for free agency, he is granted full power to sign with his team of choice. The Celtics could have dealt him to any team if he chose to opt-in. Now, Irving can look for a max contract and start fresh. He would have made $21.3 million next season with the Celtics. He has the opportunity to sign for more money.
The Boston Celtics’ Future
With Irving most likely signing elsewhere, the Celtics can continue their plans of building around Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. Tatum and Brown are very talented players. However, both players took a step back this past season in favor of Irving and Gordon Hayward. Also, the Celtics now have more cap space.
Kyrie Irving’s Next Destination
Now that Irving will be a free agent, he has a tough choice to make. He has to choose a new team to play for. According to multiple reports, his top choices are the Brooklyn Nets, Los Angeles Lakers, and New York Knicks. It also has been reported that Irving has the Nets as his first option.
Another decision he has to make involves the mental aspect. Irving wanted to leave the Cleveland Cavaliers so he can lead a team. His stint with the Celtics did not end well. If he chooses the Nets or the Knicks, he will face heavy pressure. He will be tagged as the leader and will be expected to perform at a high level. This especially bodes true for the Nets, who seem to be on the rise. If Irving signs with the Lakers, he will face heavy criticism. He will return to the “Robin” role in everyone’s eyes. Many will look at him as a failed leader. Irving’s decision will not only affect free agency but his personal life as well.
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