Kyrie Irving was asked if he has changed his mind about signing with Boston in the summer.
He said, “Ask me on July 1”, as reported by Ian Begley.
It’s not exactly a trade demand like Kristaps Porzingis, nor is it him flirting directly with other teams, but this will give renewed optimism to potential suitors for the All-Star point guard.
The New York Knicks cleared two max salary slots with a bumper trade on Thursday. It’s no secret that Irving is a player they desire, and one they think they have a chance of landing this summer.
The Knicks will also be players for other free agents, like Kevin Durant and Jimmy Butler. Irving’s comment suggests he is open to leaving Boston. Back in October last year, he said, “If you guys will have me back, I plan on re-signing here.”
This represents a significant change of heart from Irving, or at least that’s what he’s showing to the outside world. For all we know, he could be planning on staying in Boston forever. He might just be playing a big game with us. This will give those in the Big Apple hope, though, and makes the Porzingis trade make a bit more sense.
It is possible for a pair of elite free agents to team up at Madison Square Garden. It’s rare a team has two max slots available, and rarer still that is the case for a big market, prestigious franchise like the Knicks.
Jay King reported that Irving also said, “obviously Boston’s still at the head of that race.”
This saga has a long way to go. Free agency is five months today, and Irving has dozens of interviews and press conferences before now and then.
It might all be Irving having fun, watching the NBA world spin with his every word. It could be a legitimate point. Maybe he is considering teaming up with another star at MSG.
It’s a lot of unknowns right now. This will give hope to the Knicks – maybe they already had an inkling – and perhaps to the Lakers, who could be in for Irving after his surprise phone call to LeBron James last month.