Boston Celtics point guard Kyrie Irving has opened the floodgates for massive speculation after admitting earlier this summer that he will not sign a contract extension with the Boston Celtics this year. With his deal set to expire following the 2018-19 season, he is expected to become one of the most coveted free agents in a loaded market next offseason.
The New York market has practically begun to salivate at the prospect of Irving coming to the Big Apple. However, initial buzz was that he would join the Knicks, a team that is expected to become the premier landing spot for free agents next year.
However, it sounds as though they have company from their New York neighbors, according to the New York Times' Marc Stein in his newsletter.
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"There are nonetheless credible rumblings in circulation that the Nets plan to pursue Irving, right alongside the Knicks, should he become a free agent on July 1, 2019," Stein wrote (h/t NBC Sports).
Irving initially linked himself to the Knicks when he told Kristaps Porzingis that he would love to play with him in February shortly after the star went down with a season-ending ACL injury. The New Jersey native grew up just across the river from Madison Square Garden with multiple analysts, pundits and insiders speculating that he would love to play with the Knicks.
It wasn't the first time he was grouped together with the Knicks, either, as the team's name popped up when Irving shockingly asked the Cleveland Cavaliers to trade him last summer.
Instead, he was dealt to Boston where the Celtics immediately became one of the strongest sides in the Eastern Conference alongside the LeBron James-led Cavaliers. While the Celtics lost Gordon Heyward for the year, they still nabbed the No. 2 seed in the East before making a run to the Conference Finals.
Considering the Celtics and 76ers are slated to be the powerhouses of the East for years to come, it's peculiar that Irving would want to leave Boston. However, the Knicks are in the process of clearing up cap space to sign multiple max-salary free agents next summer to join Porzingis and promising rookie Kevin Knox, who has been anointed the next star of New York basketball despite not playing a single regular season minute yet.
The Nets are in on Kyrie Irving, too?
The Nets though can provide a homecoming for Irving, too.
Finally having recovered from the trade for Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Jason Terry that gutted the franchise in 2013, the Nets are clearing space for two max-salary contracts and will possess their own first-round draft pick for the first time in six years.
With Jeremy Lin being traded earlier this month, there is a vacancy for Irving to slot right into a backcourt that already has D'Angelo Russell.
Should the Knicks or Nets get Irving, Minnesota Timberwolves star Jimmy Butler might not be too far behind. He reportedly wants to team up with Irving next season to try and create a super team in the Eastern Conference.