NBA rumors: Celtics' Kyrie Irving 'prepared to sign' with Nets as free agent

NBA rumors: Celtics' Kyrie Irving 'prepared to sign' with Nets as free agent

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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Celtics apparently brought awesome NBA title inspiration to practice

Celtics apparently brought awesome NBA title inspiration to practice

The Boston Celtics quite literally had their eyes on the prize Monday, it appears.

Celtics big man Vincent Poirier shared a video on his Instagram story Monday that appeared to show Boston's 2008 NBA championship trophy at the Auerbach Center.

How's that for some inspiration?

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The Celtics haven't won an NBA title since Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen and the 2007-08 C's captured the team's 17th championship.

Many believe Boston can compete for a title during the NBA's restarted season in Orlando, however. Kemba Walker has had several months to rest his injured knee, while Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Gordon Hayward and Marcus Smart give the Celtics impressive depth at both ends of the floor.

The C's were the No. 3 seed in the Eastern Conference when the 2019-20 season halted in mid-March, but it many ways all bets are off entering an unprecedented playoff format that will be played in a neutral location without fans.

NBA teams are set to travel to Orlando this week to begin ramping up for the "seeding round" in late July. The Celtics' entire team is on board at the moment, and now the squad has some extra motivation as it gets set to enter the bubble.

Celtics' Jaylen Brown 'disappointed' in NBA's jersey message options

Celtics' Jaylen Brown 'disappointed' in NBA's jersey message options

Jaylen Brown believes the NBA can go further in its plan to give players a voice in Orlando.

The NBA and the NBA Players Association reportedly agreed to a list of messages promoting social justice that players can wear on the back of their jerseys during the restarted 2019-20 season.

While Brown is appreciative of the league taking that step, the Boston Celtics wing is less pleased about choosing a message from a list he believes is "limiting."

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"I would like to see -- because I think it can still happen -- more options available to put on the back of our jerseys," Brown said Monday in a video conference with reporters. "We understand anything vulgar our league doesn't necessarily represent, but for histories and causes such as now, I think that that list is an example of a form of limitation. I think we should be able to express our struggle just a little bit more.

" ... I was very disappointed in the list that was agreed to. I think things were tried and attempts were made to add to that list, but the NBA agreed that that list was satisfactory. Hopefully we can get some more names on that list."

The list reportedly has 29 messages total, including slogans such as, "Black Lives Matter," "Justice Now" and "I Can't Breathe."

But Brown, who has spoken out against racial inequality in America and led a protest in Atlanta last month following the death of George Floyd, has some additional messages in mind.

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"Maybe 'Break the Cycle,' 'Results' -- that's what everybody is really playing for -- 'Inequality by Design,' " Brown said, "things like that I think may have a deeper impact than some of the things that were given to us. I think it was a little bit limiting."

The 23-year-old admitted he and his Celtics teammates were hesitant to join the NBA restart due to concerns about the coronavirus and their calls for racial justice being lost. Yet Brown still believes the NBA bubble can provide a platform for him and other NBA players to get their messages across.

"We have to go down there and make sure that people don’t forget about George Floyd or Breonna Taylor or Philando Castile or Ahmaud Arbery or Trayvon Martin, which was in the Orlando area," Brown said. "And the list goes on."