Kyrie Irving reportedly hasn't eliminated Celtics yet

Gabby Guerard
June 13, 2019 - 2:58 pm

While Kyrie Irving rumors have fluctuated daily, the latest development comes from Boston Herald’s Steve Bulpett, who reports that the Celtics haven’t been ruled out yet.

“According to multiple league sources, Irving still has not removed the Celtics from consideration as he contemplates where to sign as a free agent, though the assumption around the NBA was he was looking to go elsewhere to join up with another marquee free agent," wrote Bulpett. “That concept was placed in some measure of doubt when Kevin Durant – the most prominent of the potential 2019 free agents – suffered a ruptured Achilles’ tendon in Game 5 of the NBA Finals Monday night.”

The Warriors star could opt-in and have Golden State pay him to rehab, or he could opt-out and sign a four-year deal elsewhere, meaning that the new team would have to pay for one year of rehab before he is able to compete in the following three.

As of now, there is nothing definitive that states whether or not Durant’s injury will impact Irving’s thinking. If Irving goes elsewhere to team up with Durant, he would have to wait a year before they could get the opportunity to compete together.

Another other factor for Irving is his brand.

According to Forbes World’s Highest-Paid Athletes in 2019, Irving makes $23 million solely from endorsements. That is more than half of his overall pay, which also includes salary and winnings, totaling $43.3 million. He is the highest paid Boston athlete out of all sports, ranking No. 25 in the world.

But the star hasn’t had nearly as much success in recent years, after leaving LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers to come to Boston. From a marketing standpoint, it could be a risk to leave Boston, and then spend an entire year waiting for Durant before his new team could likely take off with two All-Stars.

At the same time, there could be a number of other reasons as to why Irving may want to play elsewhere, and there are more factors to consider than just Durant’s injury. According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski on Wednesday, the Celtics and Lakers are engaged in trade talks with the Pelicans about Anthony Davis. It is unknown if a successful Celtics pursuit of Davis could make Irving more inclined to stay in Boston at this time.

Here’s what is for sure: On Wednesday, Irving did not opt into his $21.3 million deal and became a free agent. Then later in the day, he parted ways with his former agent Jeff Wechsler and now partners with ROC Nation Sports.

And for now, Boston hasn’t been officially ruled out as a possibility.

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