By Ty Anderson, 985TheSportsHub.com
In addition to the New York Knicks, the Boston Celtics will apparently have another challenger for the services of superstar point guard Kyrie Irving next summer in the Brooklyn Nets.
According to veteran NBA reporter Marc Stein, who makes it a point to say that Irving's 2019 intentions remain unclear, the Nets plan on going all-in with the hopes of luring Irving to his childhood team with one of their available max contract slots.
From Stein's newsletter:
Kyrie Irving’s intentions are not at all clear at this point. There have been no firm indications from Irving or his camp that the All-Star guard is eyeing an exit from Boston next summer or that he’s angling to go to New York — as is often speculated.
But 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.
In short: I expect Brooklyn to aim as high as possible in free agency while reserving the right to stay conservative if the Nets can’t convince top-tier free agents to take their money.
While born in Australia, the 26-year-old Irving grew up in New Jersey, considered Jason Kidd his favorite player, and attended countless New Jersey Nets games. And while most thought of New York when Irving gushed about his roots to the metropolitan area, Irving made it a point earlier this summer to let you know that his connects extend out to New Jersey.
“[The metro area] will always be home to me," Irving, who led the Celtics in points (24.4) and assists (5.1) last season, said during his press tour for Uncle Drew. "I’m from New Jersey — to just be clear. This is where I grew up, man.“
It's believed that the Nets, who have missed the playoffs in three straight seasons, are targeting a massive 2019 summer load-up that could see them attempt to land both Irving and Kawhi Leonard. If not, other names remain out there, such as Kevin Durant and Minnesota's Jimmy Butler (a player who has an interest in teaming up with Irving to run the East).
Despite all of this, the Celtics remain confident they will be able to re-sign Irving to a long-term deal in Boston.
The Celtics should feel that way, too, as they gave Irving a front row seat to what the Celtics were able to do despite being without the services of both he and superstar free agent addition Gordon Hayward last postseason.
Ty Anderson is a digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. He does not believe that Earth is flat. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Ty? Yell at him on Twitter @_TyAnderson.