In anything but shocking news, Celtics guard Kyrie Irving has officially decided not to opt into his $21.3 million contract for next season and will become an unrestricted free agent this summer, according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania.
Celtics' Kyrie Irving is not opting into his $21.3 million deal for next season and will become a free agent eligible to sign a new contract with Boston or elsewhere, league sources tell @TheAthleticNBA @Stadium.— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) June 12, 2019
What this means for Irving’s Boston future is legitimately anybody’s guess.
The plan has always been for Irving to opt out and then re-up with the Celtics on a new, max contract, so this opt-out could mean absolutely nothing in the grand scheme of things. Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge has previously said that the sides were ‘engaged’ and were going to get married by way of a long-term contract in July. (Consider declining the player option to be Irving’s bachelor party, basically.)
But that was before what was an undeniably disappointing season for both Irving and the Celtics, as the 27-year-old failed to be the leader the Celtics needed — both on and off the court — en route to a second-round exit to the Milwaukee Bucks.
And before Kevin Durant, considered a lock to go to the Knicks (probably to team up with Irving), suffered what everybody believes is an Achilles’ injury that could sideline him for up to a year.
In addition to the Celtics and Knicks, it’s believed that the Nets and Lakers will be interested in adding Irving.