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Add Shams, Stein, Windhorst to pundits saying Kyrie Irving likely joining Nets

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Dallas Mavericks v Boston Celtics Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

It was a good night for Nets fans, less so for the Celtics.

Shams Charania of The Athletic, Marc Stein of The Times and Brian Windhorst of ESPN all added their names to those who believe Kyrie Irving will likely sign with the Nets. Moreover, new information suggests that Al Horford, Boston’s center, will be moving on after opting out of the last year of his contract, making it a rough night in Beantown.

Similarly, in his NBA newsletter, Stein suggested that Irving was likely moving from Boston to Brooklyn, calling the Nets the “overwhelming favorite” in the competition for the 27-year-old point guard. He noted as well that a current Net has played a previously unknown role in wooing Irving.

Spencer Dinwiddie, after a breakout season on the floor, has had a significant role in recruiting Irving to Brooklyn. Irving’s recent decision to change his representation to Roc Nation, with its well-chronicled ties to the Nets through Jay-Z, has only amplified the notion that the Nets are the overwhelming favorites to land Irving.”

Stein also reported that the Nets medical and performance staff could be an asset in getting Kevin Durant to join Irving in Brooklyn, something Stefan Bondy suggested on Monday.

“In the Nets’ dream scenario, Irving not only signs on but persuades his good friend Durant to join him and to entrust his rehabilitation to the considerable medical staff that the Nets have assembled.”

Stein did note that Irving has a tendency to change his mind and that should give Brooklyn’s front office some pause.

Yet it’s also true that Kyrie is the captain of the N.B.A.’s Anything Is Possible team. The Los Angeles Lakers and even a return to the Celtics are presumably on his list somewhere. So the furthest I’ll go, this far removed from free agency’s opening bell, is co-signing the view that Knicks vs. Nets is finally a derby worthy of Gotham.

It’s not Real Madrid vs. Barcelona yet, but there’s hope in the New York air, too.

Brian Windhorst in writing up the day’s rumors for ESPN said in fact the Celtics believe Irving is Brooklyn-bound.

Outwardly, the Boston Celtics are keeping a stiff upper lip, but internally they’ve long since been planning in case Kyrie Irving signs with the Brooklyn Nets, as widely expected at this point, or elsewhere. The reality is, the Celtics are probably going to lose their best player and might have no functional way to replace him immediately.

Kevin O’Connor of The Ring also conceded that the Nets are likely coming away with Irving. If indeed, the All-NBA point guard joins the Nets, one member the Nets’ announcing crew on YES Network thinks it will be a big deal.

As Keith Smith of Yahoo! noted, “Free agency doesn’t even open for 12 more days and it feels like the entire NBA world has tilted on its axis.”

Stay tuned.