The NBA silly season apparently has gotten so big that looking a year ahead is now part of the deal.
The Boston Celtics were expected to have a quiet offseason, but in the last few days there has been talk about a potential pursuit of LeBron James.
Now, we’ve got Yahoo’s Chris Mannix talking about Celtics point guard Kyrie Irving and his future with the team. According to Mannix, the Celtics are “scared” they could lose the point guard in free agency next summer — with the New York Knicks being a real threat.
“I think they’re scared. I think they’re scared and should be scared to some degree of Kyrie Irving walking in 2019,” Mannix said on a recent Yahoo podcast, as transcribed by NBC Sports Boston. “I know he had a great year, but you know there are people in Cleveland that will tell you that the Knicks should be considered a real threat for Kyrie Irving. Because Kyrie had talked about it — about playing with the Knicks with some players in that Cleveland locker room — from what I was told.”
The Celtics have Irving under control for the 2018-19 season, but he does have a player option for 2020, meaning he could opt out following next season.
Perhaps there’s some connection to James here, too. Mannix mentioned on NBC Sports Boston earlier this week that he has concerns about what signing James would do to the Celtics’ ongoing rebuild.
Additionally, you have to wonder how Irving would handle such a move, as reportedly the main reason he wanted out of Cleveland was to get away from James and be the man on his own.
“If you’re Boston, one concern of yours with Kyrie is making him happy,” Mannix said Wednesday night on NBC Sports Boston. “There’s no guarantee Kyrie Irving re-signs in 2019. There are people around the league that believe the Knicks are going to be a strong contender for Kyrie Irving in 2019, that he wanted to play there while he was still with the Cleveland Cavaliers. So, making Kyrie Irving happy and keeping him on the same page with the organization, I think that’s paramount for the Celtics.”
While the Celtics reportedly were optimistic about their chances to sign Irving to a contract extension upon acquiring him from Cleveland last summer, they also probably acknowledged this sort of thing was possible, too.