Boston Celtics

BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS - APRIL 17: Kyrie Irving #11 of the Brooklyn Nets and Kevin Durant #7 look on during the first quarter of Round 1 Game 1 of the 2022 NBA Eastern Conference Playoffs against the Boston Celtics at TD Garden on April 17, 2022 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS – APRIL 17: Kyrie Irving #11 of the Brooklyn Nets and Kevin Durant #7 look on during the first quarter of Round 1 Game 1 of the 2022 NBA Eastern Conference Playoffs against the Boston Celtics at TD Garden on April 17, 2022 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Kyrie Irving will likely be on the move again this offseason. As first reported by Kristian Winfield of the New York Daily News, Irving has received permission from the Nets to explore a sign-and-trade this offseason. Irving is technically under contract for the 2022-2023 season at $36.5 million dollars, but has an opt-out in his deal for this summer.

Irving may want out of Brooklyn, but his options are expected to be limited. Although he gave the Nets a list of six teams he’d be willing to be traded to, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski is reporting just one team – the Los Angeles Lakers – is interested in trading for him. Woj added that “Brooklyn isn’t believed to have interest in available Lakers packages,” meaning Irving would either have to accept a trade elsewhere or sign with LA for the mid-level exception of about $6 million.

If and when Irving leaves Brooklyn, he’ll be joining his fourth team in seven years. After being traded from Cleveland to Boston in the 2017 offseason, he spent two years with the Celtics and three with the Nets.

This news also opens up further speculation about Kevin Durant’s availability. Winfield reported on Monday that Durant “hasn’t spoken to Nets front office” this offseason about his next steps. It has been rumored but not reported that Durant could ask out of Brooklyn if the Irving situation isn’t handled to his liking.

Don’t expect a resolution on either situation immediately. Sign-and-trades can’t begin until 6 p.m. on Thursday, meaning there’s at least a few more days of speculation left ahead.

More from 985TheSportsHub.com…

Brad Stevens highlights the Celtics' biggest offseason needs

  • The NBA offseason is in its early stages, with teams beginning to formulate their summer plans. That includes the Celtics who will look to round out a roster that reached the NBA Finals in 2022.

    On Tuesday morning, Celtics president of basketball operations Brad Stevens spoke with the media to discuss both the end of the team’s season, and look ahead to the offseason. When it comes to the latter, Stevens told reporters this year is business as usual after the team’s Finals run.

    “As far as improving, it’s the same old deal: draft, develop, and deals,” he said. “You just look for things that make the most sense within your group”

    So, what makes the most sense for the Celtics at this point? “If you ask me right now what we need, I’d like to have a little bit more scoring – consistent scoring off the bench,” Stevens said.

    Scoring doesn’t come cheap, and the Celtics are right up against the cap. However, they have multiple trade exceptions as well as the mid-level exception to help facilitate things, with Stevens saying that the team “got the okay to do whatever we need to do” from ownership regarding using the tools at their disposal.

    The other thing that could help the Celtics is that they may not look to attack the top of the market to fill this need. Steven described it as a “short-term need,” and that he “believe[s] in a couple of the guys that didn’t get a chance to play as much [last season], that they will continue to improve and be knocking on that door soon. So we have some development opportunities within our own organization.”

    That wasn’t the only need Stevens identified. Asked about the ball movement issues during the Finals, Stevens said “I think we need a little bit more playmaking. I think that that’s real.” He did acknowledge that that improvement could come from within, noting “I think we need more playmaking, but I don’t think we can expect to be stagnant,” but also adding “in this in this league, the more guys that can make a play offensively, the better.”

    “We’ll continue to scour and look at what our opportunities are with our trade exceptions and the draft and our limited resources in free agency,” he added. With just a second round pick in this year’s draft, a trade or free agency are the most likely avenues towards those additions. Who are some players who could fit the bill in either or both categories? Here’s some players expected to be available…

  • G Tyus Jones

    Nov 1, 2021; Memphis, Tennessee, USA; Memphis Grizzles guard Tyus Jones (21) passes the ball during the second half against the Denver Nuggets at FedExForum. Credit: Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports

    Nov 1, 2021; Memphis, Tennessee, USA; Memphis Grizzles guard Tyus Jones (21) passes the ball during the second half against the Denver Nuggets at FedExForum. Credit: Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports

    For those still haunted by the Celtics’ turnover issues in the playoffs, Jones would be the ultimate addition. He’s led the NBA in assist-to-turnover ratio the last four seasons. Coming off the bench last season for the Grizzlies, he averaged 1.1 turnovers to 7.5 assists per 36 minutes. At the same time, he shot a career-best 39 percent from deep. The 26-year-old is set to be a free agent who may be a MLE candidate, but he could also (and for the Celtics, more likely) be acquired through a sign-and-trade.

  • G Mike Conley

    PORTLAND, OREGON - DECEMBER 23: Mike Conley #10 of the Utah Jazz dribbles against the Portland Trail Blazers during the second half of the game at Moda Center on December 23, 2020 in Portland, Oregon. (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

    PORTLAND, OREGON – DECEMBER 23: Mike Conley #10 of the Utah Jazz dribbles against the Portland Trail Blazers during the second half of the game at Moda Center on December 23, 2020 in Portland, Oregon. (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

    Although Conley’s contract is fully guaranteed for the 2022-2023 season and then partially guaranteed for the following season, it’s expected the Utah Jazz will at least take calls on the 34-year-old All-Star. Stevens’ former boss Danny Ainge currently in an executive role in Utah, the Celtics could have a negotiating advantage offering prospects Ainge originally drafted. Adding Conley would give the Celtics a true point guard and another veteran voice in the locker room.

  • G/F Cody Martin

    CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA - JANUARY 02: Cody Martin #11 of the Charlotte Hornets drives to the basket past Devin Booker #1 of the Phoenix Suns in the third quarter during their game at Spectrum Center on January 02, 2022 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images)

    CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA – JANUARY 02: Cody Martin #11 of the Charlotte Hornets drives to the basket past Devin Booker #1 of the Phoenix Suns in the third quarter during their game at Spectrum Center on January 02, 2022 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images)

    Martin didn’t have a high-volume role in Charlotte’s offense last year, but in the opportunities he did get he showed major improvement. The 26-year-old posted career highs in field goal percentage (48.2  percent) and three point percentage (38.4 percent). He’s at his best in transition – something else Stevens cited as a focus area for the Celtics – and is a strong defender as well. Given he’s a restricted free agent, the Celtics may need to overpay a bit if they want to land him. According to Heavy.com, an “anonymous Eastern Conference GM” noted Cody – and his brother Caleb who had a similar breakout year with Miami and is also an RFA – as a “potential target” for the Celtics this offseason.

  • G Dennis Schröder

    Mar 20, 2022; Houston, Texas, USA; Houston Rockets guard Dennis Schroder (17) shoots the ball during the third quarter against the Memphis Grizzlies at Toyota Center. Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

    Mar 20, 2022; Houston, Texas, USA; Houston Rockets guard Dennis Schroder (17) shoots the ball during the third quarter against the Memphis Grizzlies at Toyota Center. Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

    Last season, the Celtics signed Schröder to a one-year, $5.9 million dollar contract in free agency. Could a similar deal be reached this year? Objectively, Schröder is the player the Celtics seem to be looking for almost to a tee. In the first half of last season, he had a lot on his plate, starting 25 games and leading the second unit when he wasn’t in the starting lineup. With more guard depth now on the roster and other players showing development, the team wouldn’t need to ask as much of him in a second-stint, and he could play more as a volume shooter.

    Would Schröder be open to a reunion? Based on this Instagram post from during the NBA Finals, it seems likely.

  • G Collin Sexton

    CLEVELAND, OHIO - OCTOBER 22: Collin Sexton #2 of the Cleveland Cavaliers dribbles on Gordon Hayward #20 of the Charlotte Hornets in the second half at Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse on October 22, 2021 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Rick Osentoski/Getty Images)

    CLEVELAND, OHIO – OCTOBER 22: Collin Sexton #2 of the Cleveland Cavaliers dribbles on Gordon Hayward #20 of the Charlotte Hornets in the second half at Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse on October 22, 2021 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Rick Osentoski/Getty Images)

    There’s always one out-of-the-box, reach idea in these lists, and for this one its Sexton, who is a high-risk, high-reward kind of player. If scoring is what the Celtics want, Sexton checks that box just two years removed from a 24.3 point per game season. While he’s not a true playmaker and doesn’t offer the kind of defense the Celtics usually target, he would give them a true dynamic bucket-getter on their second unit.

    Sexton played just 11 games last season after tearing the meniscus in his left knee, so there are medical unknowns here. But this could be a way for the Celtics to add a potentially dynamic offensive player even with their “limited resources,” as Stevens called them. For Sexton, it could be a chance to join a successful team on a short-term ‘prove it’ deal to reset his value on the market for next summer if no other team is willing to dish out the big contract right now. Sexton is a restricted free agent, so he could be acquired via a signing or a trade.

  • G Ricky Rubio

    NEW YORK, NEW YORK - NOVEMBER 17: Ricky Rubio #3 of the Cleveland Cavaliers in action against the Brooklyn Nets during their game at Barclays Center on November 17, 2021 in New York City. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

    NEW YORK, NEW YORK – NOVEMBER 17: Ricky Rubio #3 of the Cleveland Cavaliers in action against the Brooklyn Nets during their game at Barclays Center on November 17, 2021 in New York City. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

    The Celtics could go to the other extreme of the Cavs’ backcourt, and look at Rubio. An unrestricted free agent, Rubio is 31 years old and is a pure passer at this point of his career. Rubio is also coming off an injury-shortened season, having torn his ACL in December.

  • Whatever the Celtics end up doing, the move won’t be any sort of reset for the core they’ve already built. Rather, Stevens will be looking for a player or players who can add in the context of the system already in place.

    “I think with our group in particular it’s not as much about blindly acquiring talent as it is about fitting a team together,” he said. “I think that the challenge is making sure that whatever you do around the margins of our roster – we have a unique identity and we have uniqueness in our size and our ability to be versatile all across the board. And so we have to take all of that into account when we’re adding to our team.”

    The Celtics still have a little bit of time to figure out exactly the direction they want to go. NBA Free Agency begins on June 30.