Sportress of Blogitude

Report: Kyrie Irving re-signing with Celtics ‘not in stone’

Kyrie Irving by all appearances settled all free agency matters by declaring earlier this month he intends to re-sign with the Boston Celtics following this season. Despite the superstar point guard’s proclamation that Boston is in his long-term future, one plugged-in NBA insider indicates Irving’s words could ultimately ring hollow, perhaps of no fault of his own.

ESPN’s Brian Windhorst notes in a column published Wednesday that Irving appears content with the Celtics, a team that certainly expects to be among the top teams in the Eastern Conference for years to come. The only thing Irving would have to do is put pen to paper on a five-year, $190 million contract.

One caveat, Winhorst writes, may not even be about Irving’s wishes. Instead, it’s whether the Celtics are willing to commit to Irving. And other NBA teams are preparing to pounce should things go awry between Irving and the Celtics.

As any college coach will tell you, a verbal commitment is just that. Also, the Celtics will probably be willing to make the five-year offer to Irving, but that’s not in stone at this point with Irving’s history of injuries and many months to go. Plenty of executives have the magnet with Irving’s name on it slapped in the “UFA” (unrestricted free agent) column on their whiteboards.

Irving was not surprisingly extremely eager for the start of the season. Last appearing on the court with the Celtics back in March, Irving had since undergone two surgeries on his left knee, procedures that involved some pretty harrowing moments afterward. Watching the Celtics excel without him during a run to the Eastern Conference Finals was not a pleasant experience for Irving, either.

It of course remains to be seen how Irving’s future shakes out. It would be surprising for the Celtics to not want to retain Irving should the team make a deep run in the postseason with Irving playing up to his considerable caliber. That said, the notion Irving would still opt to leave in free agency under the same scenario would not be shocking given his forced exodus out of Cleveland.