NBA free agency: Four likeliest landing spots for Kyrie Irving

Joshua Dahl-USA TODAY Sports

It sure looks like Kyrie Irving is planning to leave the Boston Celtics in free agency. In fact, their plans lead us to believe that the Celtics are preparing for this eventuality.

While Boston is holding out hope that the NBA champ does return, others are already preparing pitches for the All-Star guard.

Here’s a look at the four likeliest landing spots for Irving once free agency opens early next month.

Brooklyn Nets

At this rate, we’d put a lot of money down on Irving heading to Brooklyn. He just recently moved on from his long-time agent for Roc Nation, an entity founded by former Nets part owner Jay-Z. This came amid multiple reports that Irving was preparing to sign with the Nets.

The only real question here is what Brooklyn plans to do after it signs Irving. Fellow All-Star guard D’Angelo Russell is a restricted free agent. Brooklyn might like the idea of teaming the two up with one another. But two ball-dominant guards in the backcourt has not proven to be successful in the past. Just ask the Houston Rockets. Could this potentially lead to Irving and Jimmy Butler teaming up in Brooklyn? Heck, Kevin Durant remains a possibility.

New York Knicks

Just when it seemed the hard luck Knicks would fail to land a top-end star following Irving’s flirtation with the Nets and Kevin Durant’s injury, comes reports that the two could still team up in the Big Apple. Sure that remains a pipe dream. But stranger things have happened.

Would Irving pass up on the Nets for their cross-city rivals? We wouldn’t bank on it. What we do know is that New York plans on going strong in free agency after winning a combined 46 games over the past two seasons.

Los Angeles Lakers

Reports during the regular season indicated that Irving was open to the idea of reuniting with LeBron James in Southern California. Things have calmed down on that front since, especially with Irving deciding on Roc Nation over Rich Paul (LeBron’s agent) for representation.

Even then, we wouldn’t put it past Irving to have a change of heart here. He’s a fickle personality. He’d also work well with LeBron and the young talent Los Angeles possesses. Heck, the idea of teaming Irving up with King James and Anthony Davis seems like a dream scenario. Again, stranger things have happened.

Boston Celtics

It’s rather interesting how sour things have gone between Irving and the Celtics. The two are coming off a drama-filled 2018-19 campaign, one that started with Irving proclaiming that he was going to re-sign with the Celtics.

Does this mean Irving is all but gone from Beantown? No. The Celtics are holding out hope that he is lured by the idea of teaming up with Anthony Davis. If Boston were to pull off that trade ahead of free agency, it might lead to Irving re-signing. After all, the Celtics can offer him about $50 million more in guaranteed cash than any other team.