“When you go 7-for-22, you can’t turn around and go 8-for-22,” said Rose. “You’ve got to get off the ball. And then when you go to the press conference and say I should’ve (taken) 30 shots, what do you think the other 14 guys in the car going home are saying? ‘We can’t wait ’til this guy gets out of here. We’ll help him pack his bags.’ ”
Indeed, things look ugly in Beantown. Irving has a $21,329,752 player option he can exercise in June. Although he told thousands of season ticket-holders before the season, “If you guys will have me back, I plan on re-signing here next year,”
Then, in February, as the Celtics season moved from one disappointment to another, he seemed less certain.
“At the end of the day I spent the last eight years trying to do what everybody else wanted me to do in terms of making my decisions and trying to validate through the media, through other personnel, managers, anybody in this business.”
Now, Ceasars Sportsbook in Las Vegas suggests the 27-year-old’s next destination is likely Brooklyn.
Rose thinks that calculus is off, that the Nets don’t need an iso threat, no matter how accomplished.
“The thing that I’m seeing is his next situation has to be a blank canvas. It can’t be the Nets. And what I mean by that is a team that made the playoffs that has an identity in its backcourt already,” the ESPN analyst said. “They have to be a squad like the Knicks, where they can actually build around the fact that he’s gonna be a volume-usage player. He likes to dribble the ball a lot, he likes to shoot the basketball a lot, and that’s who he has become.”
Of course, if Irving leaves Boston, he will forego around $50 million in his next contract. Irving will be eligible to sign a five-year extension worth $188 million if he stays with the Celtics. A max free-agent deal for Irving with a team that’s not the Celtics would be worth $139 million over four years.
Jackie MacMullan of ESPN told several reporters Wednesday that she doesn’t believe Irving knows where he’s going to play next year, but she disagreed with Jalen Rose and suggested the Celtics would try to wrap him up early in free agency. She also dismissed rumors that Durant and Irving would pair up in New York.
“I do not believe that – but I don’t believe that he has his mind set set on Boston either,” MacMullan said on Taz & The Moose, a Boston sports radio show. “People ask me every single day, ‘What do you think Kyrie is going to do?’ And I say the same thing: I don’t know – because I don’t think he knows. He’s a very complicated guy, he’s very intelligent, very introspective. This has been a rugged year for him – which is crazy because it’s been a career year. As far as I’m concerned, it’s the best year he’s had as a pro on the court.”
As for pairing Irving with Kevin Durant, that sounds good on paper but it would require massive cap clearing by Brooklyn... not just trading Allen Crabbe but renouncing D’Angelo Russell and others.
So despite Caesars sports book, it doesn’t appear likely ... Or popular.