Get ready for plenty of NBA rumors involving the futures of Boston Celtics point guard Kyrie Irving and Minnesota Timberwolves forward Jimmy Butler from now until next summer.
The two superstars each are able to become unrestricted free agents next July, and neither has committed to remaining with their current team. There have been no reports, at least to this point, indicating that either player definitely is leaving, but that hasn’t stopped reports claiming they want to play together from surfacing.
The Chicago Sun-Times a month ago wrote on the apparent desire of Irving and Butler to maybe team up at some point, and Scott Davis of Business Insider followed up on that with similar information in a piece published Monday.
“Two league sources told Business Insider that there is a buzz about the Boston Celtics’ Kyrie Irving and the Minnesota Timberwolves’ Jimmy Butler teaming up next summer, with one source saying the chatter is “substantial,” Davis wrote.
“Both sources also said the New York Knicks and Brooklyn Nets could be well-positioned to land the two players if they are indeed keen on teaming up.”
It’s possible both the Knicks and Nets could have enough salary cap space to sign two max free agents, but it’s not a sure thing.
In Irving’s case, a lot of the New York chatter probably stems from the fact he grew up in New Jersey. From a basketball perspective, it doesn’t make much sense for Irving to bolt for the Knicks when he has a much better situation in Boston. The Celtics will be able to offer him more money than any team next summer and an extra year (a five-year deal instead of four) and they have more talent and draft capital than either New York squad.
Butler, meanwhile, doesn’t play in a similarly strong situation in Minnesota, where the Timberwolves barely made the playoffs last season and aren’t likely to compete for a Western Conference title anytime soon. If the T-Wolves don’t show much progress during the 2018-19 campaign, it would be hard to blame him for leaving. Butler never played beyond the second round of the playoffs in his seven NBA seasons.
The only thing we know for sure is it’s going to be a season full of rumors surrounding Irving and Butler, unless one or both of them comes out and reveals his intentions.
Thumbnail photo via David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports Images