We knew a year in advance that LeBron James was probably leaving in free agency. We're starting to talk that way about Kyrie Irving now.
Yet with LeBron, it made sense. There's at least a chance we're working ourselves up over nothing with Kyrie.
Irving hasn't said that he wants to stay in Boston long-term. Financially, he obviously shouldn't commit to that right now because it would cost him a lot of money. But he could at least say it. He could at least tell the "I want to be here for a long time" lie that free agents tell regularly.
That he hasn't said it is by no means him damning Boston -- he will say that he loves it here and loves playing for the Celtics. It's probably just Kyrie being Kyrie, but in the absence of a sure thing, we're left to guess what else it could be.
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You've got the reports of him perhaps taking interest in the Knicks. You've got the talk of him wanting to play with Jimmy Butler. You've got that young man on FS1 who kind of looks like me if I shaved my head surmising that Kyrie might not like the media attention Jayson Tatum gets.
Let's start with that last one. Know who loves Jayson Tatum? Kyrie Irving. They freaking went on vacation together before Irving was even traded to the Celtics. Kyrie put Tatum in one of his Nike commercials during the season. The idea of Irving having an issue with Tatum is preposterous.
As for the Knicks and Butler? Sure, those could carry some level of intrigue, but going from what the Celtics have now to the Knicks would not be like LeBron going from the Cavaliers to the Lakers. It would be like LeBron going from the Cavaliers to a rec league team. We're not putting enough thought into how good the Celtics are going to be this season and what kind of impression that will likely leave on a player who already says he likes it here.
This isn't to say to discredit the murmurs of why Kyrie could be interested in leaving -- actually, let's completely discredit that Nick Wright thing -- but we're biting our nails here without considering why (money, winning, coach, etc. ) he would want to stay.
That we need this reminder in July of 2018 is not a great sign for the collective mindset of Boston sports media and fans. Nothing was going to happen with Kyrie one way or another this offseason, but we're treating Irving's final year before free agency like his final days before free agency.
We're not going to get our answer until Irving opts out of his contract after next season. If he stays, the Celtics will rule the East for years. If he leaves, it will be devastating. Which road he chooses will be crucial.
But it's a little premature to declare him gone.