Former Duke man Kyrie Irving’s Boston Celtics career might not be as long and fruitful as many expected it to be. After an impressive start to life at The Garden, Irving’s hopes of leading the Celtics to an NBA championship came to an end in March with the 26-year old suffering a season-ending knee injury. But while the franchise’s main man sidelined, rather than faltering, the Celtics actually performed better on occasions as they made their way to the NBA Eastern Conference Finals and all the way to Game 7, before a LeBron James inspired Cavaliers team finally managed to get over the line.
With James having completed his move to the Los Angeles Lakers, Boston is being tipped to walk the Eastern Conference, priced at around a +650 with the latest NBA betting on bet365 to go all the way and win the championship. While there is no doubt the Celtics are going to be a force next season, it remains to be seen what role Irving with have at the franchise moving forward. The former No.1 overall draft pick is still yet to commit himself at The Garden and is scheduled to become a free agent next year.
The rumors have already begun to pick up in recent weeks, with a potential trade with the San Antonio Spurs involving Kawhi Leonard just one of the reports coming out recently, indicating it’s certainly an option the Celtics are weighing up. There is also the potential for Irving to link up with his good friend Jimmy Butler, who is also scheduled to hit the free market at the end of the 2018/19 season. The duo would certainly be a huge coup for a team, but Butler isn’t someone Boston are looking at.
There is also the option of returning to New Jersey, where his father currently lives and where a teenage Kyrie put his name on the basketball map during his time at St. Patrick’s High School. Whether it was New Jersey or in New York, both options would give Irving a better chance of being able to play with Butler when the pair become free agents. With his experience of winning a championship and still yet to truly enter his peak, there wouldn’t be a shortage of franchises keen to snap up Irving if Boston does allow him to leave.
The NBA champion spent six seasons in Cleveland with the Cavaliers before being traded last offseason to the Celtics in a trade that shocked the league and saw Isaiah Thomas make the move to Cleveland, a team which is now looking into something of the abyss following LeBron’s departure. Following his move to The Garden, Irving averaged 24.4 points, 3.8 rebounds and 5.1 assists in his 60 appearances for the Celtics, shooting a career-high 49.1% from the floor and 40.8% from three-point range. There is certainly a strong chance the Celtics decide to keep him, but the signs are all pointing towards the point guard’s stay in Boston being a brief one.