Boston Celtics fans better hope that #ESPNLies extends to The Mothership’s NBA coverage.
ESPN recently gathered its “forecast panel” to determine free agency odds for next NBA offseason. One of the players they “forecasted” was Celtics point guard Kyrie Irving, who, of course, is scheduled to become a free agent after the 2018-19 season.
Irving has indicated he loves playing in Boston, but rumors of the 26-year-old having his eyes on the New York Knicks and a team-up with close friend Jimmy Butler persist. And ESPN’s panel believes the lure of New York will be too great for Irving, who hails from New Jersey.
Here’s how the panel ranked the top five potential landing spots for Irving, with odds of him signing with that franchise in parenthesis:
1. Knicks (46.9 percent)
2. Celtics (43.8 percent)
3. Brooklyn Nets (3.1 percent)
4. Los Angeles Clippers (3.1 percent)
5. Los Angeles Lakers (3.1 percent)
“Reports swirled earlier this summer that Irving was aiming to team up with Butler, potentially in New York, where the Knicks should have the space to add a max player. (Adding two would take some creativity with the current roster,)” ESPN’s Adam Resinger wrote.
“Irving grew up in West Orange, New Jersey, and might leap at the opportunity to play in front of home area fans. However, our panel also gave the Celtics a very good chance of retaining Irving — a chance that could improve if Irving and the Celtics take advantage of the LeBron (James)-less East and reach the NBA Finals for the first time since 2010.”
Cheer up, C’s fans: The experts in Bristol, Conn. believe Boston still could retain Irving
Still, there appears to be a very real possibility that Irving takes his talents and heads to the Big Apple next year. Celtics legend Paul Pierce, for one, wouldn’t be surprised if Irving packed his bags and bailed on Beantown.
Thumbnail photo via Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports Images