As Stefan Bondy writes Saturday, it’s an article of faith around the NBA that Kyrie Irving’s tenure in Boston is dependent on how far the Celtics go in the playoffs — and to what extent he and Kevin Durant want to create a super team somewhere else.
Friday night’s loss to the Bucks, put the Celtics down 2-1. Game 4 will be played Monday night in Boston.
Knicks fans have long dreamed about a roster centered on Durant, Irving and overall No. 1 pick, Zion Williamson None of that, of course, is guaranteed, or as Bondy writes, likely. In fact, he suggests that the KD-Kyrie pairing is just as likely to happen across the East River in Brooklyn.
There may be a lot at stake in this series for the Knicks, in particular, because of continued rumblings that Kevin Durant will only join if accompanied by another proven star. Many believe that’ll be Irving, but it would be hard to imagine the point guard giving the extra $40 million he’d earn in Boston and turning down a team that he took the conference finals.
Then again, Irving demanded a trade out of Cleveland following three consecutive trips to the Finals. So we’ll see. Some plugged-in to the NBA claim Irving will strongly consider Brooklyn as a free-agent destination, with one source saying the 27-year-old prefers the Nets to the Knicks.
Of course, that flies in the face of the conventional wisdom perpetuated by Knicks fans, but there are other rumblings that suggest Irving might prefer the Nets.
Although born in Australia, Irving grew up a Nets fan in West Orange, N.J. He’s said that he loved watching the Jason Kidd Nets at the Continental Airlines Arena. More importantly during an NBA TV discussion in February, former Cavaliers GM David Griffin argued that Brooklyn is the “Fit that’s better for him in terms of his mindset.” He later added, “I think he likes what they’ve done there, culturally.”
If the 27-year-old signed with Brooklyn, it would likely mean the end of D’Angelo Russell’s time in Brooklyn. Not a lot of room on the court or on the salary cap with Durant, Irving, Russell and Caris LeVert who the Nets could extend come July 1. That speculation aside, Bondy’s suggestion that Irving may prefer the Nets over the Celtics or Knicks is yet another indicator of how Brooklyn is seen as a top landing spot for NBA stars.
- Bucks, Knicks, Nets win in Boston - Stefan Bondy - New York Daily News