Celtics

Celtics

Kyrie Irving's future is one of the biggest storylines as NBA free agency nears, and recent reports suggest the Brooklyn Nets are the most likely destination for the superstar point guard.

The Boston Herald's Steve Bulpett reported Thursday that Irving is "prepared to sign" with the Nets.

According to a source with ties to Roc Nation, the organization expected to become Irving’s new representative, the All-Star point guard is prepared to sign with the Brooklyn Nets when he becomes a free agent next month. A separate league source told the Herald that his team (not the Celtics) has received the same information and is operating under the belief that Irving wants to join the Nets.

Word is that the Celtics, meanwhile, had not been given any definitive indication from Irving as of Thursday afternoon.

Rumors linking Irving to the Nets have been surfacing fairly regularly over the last few weeks. ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported Wednesday that Irving is 'intensely interested" in joining the Nets. Nothing can become official until July, and Irving often is a tough guy to figure out, but the Nets do have cap space and the need for a marquee player. Let's not forget Irving is from New Jersey and Brooklyn would be close to home.

“The longer this thing draws out, it’s becoming clear that being close to home, being around family, being all those things that I think a lot of players factor in but they don’t necessarily rise to the top -- I think he’s putting a lot of stock in that," NBC Sports Boston's Celtics insider A. Sherrod Blakely said on Thursday's "Early Edition." "Brooklyn, to me, it's one of those careful-what-you-ask-for situations. I look at that roster, and they look a lot like the Celtics from this past year. A team that is on the rise, a team that’s had some success. Guys had roles that they anticipate will be expanded upon this year.”

 

We've come a long way from Irving telling Celtics season ticket holders in October "If you guys will have me back, I plan on re-signing here next year."

The Celtics entered last season with championship expectations, but they endured a rocky road to the No. 4 seed and were bounced in the second round of the playoffs in embarrassing fashion by the Milwaukee Bucks.

Losing a player of Irving's caliber without compensation certainly would be a blow to the Celtics' roster, even if he was to blame for some of the team chemistry problems that plagued the club. The Celtics did not give up much to acquire Irving via trade from the Cleveland Cavaliers before the 2017-18 campaign, but he is one of the top 15 players in the league and one of the sport's best scorers. He's coming off a strong statistical season in which he averaged 23.8 points, a career-high 6.9 assists and shot 40.1 percent from 3-point range.

If Irving does sign with the Nets, or any team not named the Celtics, his first game back at TD Garden is going to be a must-watch event.

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