Celtics

League execs, like fans, have lots of thoughts on Kyrie's future in Boston

League execs, like fans, have lots of thoughts on Kyrie's future in Boston

CHICAGO -- Like Celtics fans, the opinions about Kyrie Irving among league executives and scouts run the gamut.

But when it comes to Irving’s future in Boston, the overwhelming majority believe he’ll be taking his talents elsewhere next season.

A six-time All-Star, Irving will become an unrestricted free agent this summer.

While Boston has indicated it wants to re-sign Irving, it is unclear if the feeling is mutual with Irving being linked with a number of teams led by the New York Knicks.

By signing somewhere besides Boston, Irving would be walking away from about $80 million.

But according to multiple league officials, that doesn’t matter.

“If you think the money he’s going to leave on the table by going somewhere else besides Boston is going to be an issue, you don’t know Kyrie,” one Eastern Conference General Manager told NBC Sports Boston. “He’s a different kind of guy; and a lot of the stuff that you would think would be an issue for him, he could care less about.”

A different league executive pointed out how the talk about Irving and issues with the media won’t be a factor, either.

“He’s thinking about playing for the Knicks, and we all know how big a (media) circus show that can be,” the second league official said.

Despite most of those spoken to indicating they anticipate Irving will play somewhere besides Boston next season, there were a couple of league officials who are convinced that when all is said and done, Irving will sign a long-term deal with Boston.

“He’s playing all of you guys right now,” a front-office official with a Western Conference team told NBC Sports on Thursday. “Say what you want about his leadership and all that nonsense, but the one thing we know about Kyrie is he will do what is best for Kyrie. The money, chance to win a title sooner rather than later, have his own team … all that stuff matters and when he looks at all the different options he’ll have, I think he’ll have one of those, “what the hell was I thinking?” moments and go back to Boston.”

An NBA scout who has followed Irving dating to his days at Duke agrees.

“I know this season didn’t end the way Kyrie or the Celtics wanted,” the scout said. “But when you look at what went wrong for them, it’s easy to blame Kyrie because he didn’t shoot the ball well. But when you hear what others are saying afterwards, Brad (Stevens) saying he did a bad job, players talking about how they sacrificed this and that … it’s pretty obvious that they had a lot of issues going on that were bigger than just one player, even a player as good as Kyrie.

The scout added, “I think he comes back and he comes back with an attitude; a little edgier with not just his words but his play.”

All agreed that the addition of Anthony Davis via trade would bode well for their chances of re-signing Irving, most believing the Celtics have to do that before they can officially get Irving back into the fold.

“Obviously they want Anthony Davis. Hell, we all want Anthony Davis,” a Western Conference front-office official said. “But even if they strike out on getting him, they still have to make changes. If they’re going to go all-in on Kyrie, they have to build this team around him with guys who can complement more than the last year’s team.”

And while all those spoken to by NBC Sports Boston had their own rationale for what they believe will be Irving’s fate, the one thing they were unanimous on is that there will be changes made to Boston’s roster next season.

But will those changes include Kyrie Irving?

Stay tuned …

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NBA Draft rumors live: Will Celtics swing trade for high draft pick?

NBA Draft rumors live: Will Celtics swing trade for high draft pick?

Hold onto your butts, Boston Celtics fans.

You've already endured an eventful week reading reports that both Kyrie Irving and Al Horford are expected to sign elsewhere in free agency.

But there will be more change on the way in Thursday's 2019 NBA Draft, where the Celtics own a total of four picks, including three in the top 22.

Those assets give Boston the option of either swinging a draft-night trade -- a strong possibility, per the latest reports -- or loading up on talent to complement young stars Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown.

So, what's the latest scuttlebutt on the Celtics' plans? We're tracking all of the news, rumors and reports right here between now and 8 p.m. ET. (All times Eastern.)

10:05 a.m.: The trades already have begun, as Golden State and Atlanta reportedly have swung a deal.

The Hawks have a host of draft assets and reportedly could compete with the Celtics for the New Orleans Pelicans' No. 4 overall pick.

9:10 a.m.: And so it begins... The C's reportely are putting Aron Baynes on the trade block as they eye extra cap space.

8:45 a.m. ET: We told you to prepare for an eventful day... ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski said Wednesday night he expects "an extraordinary amount of trades" in this year's draft, with Boston in the thick of the action.

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A. Sherrod Blakely's NBA Mock Draft 7.0: All over but the picking

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USA TODAY Sports photo

A. Sherrod Blakely's NBA Mock Draft 7.0: All over but the picking

BOSTON --  Workouts for draft prospects are a thing of the past now. All those months spent by NBA executives and bleary-eyed scouts watching one video after another of some wannabe NBA baller have come to this.

The NBA draft will kick off in earnest tonight, a draft many expect will include teams flipping picks the way the Phoenix Suns hire - and fire - coaches (they’re on No. 8 within the past 11 years).

In what most agree is a good, but not great, draft, those teams with multiple first-round picks, such as the Celtics, are doing what they can to unload their first-rounders in hopes of landing more seasoned talent.

Still, that was the case in 2016 when the Celtics last had a trio of first-round picks and were eager to trade at least one of them before winding up with Jaylen Brown at No. 3, along with Guershon Yabusele (No. 16) and Ante Zizic (23) in the first round.

Boston may once again wind up with three first-round picks, all of whom will be selected from a similar pool of talent because of each pick’s proximity (Nos. 14; No. 20 and No. 22) to one another.

Regardless, the Celtics focus remains on figuring out the best way to bolster a roster that’s now in serious transition.

And the first real crack at doing that begins now.

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