Kyrie Irving Rumors: Celtics 'Scared' PG Will Leave in 2019 FA, Join Knicks

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistJune 8, 2018

FILE - In this Feb. 28, 2018, file photo, Boston Celtics guard Kyrie Irving (11) moves down court during the first quarter of an NBA basketball game in Boston. A person with knowledge of the situation says Celtics point guard Kyrie Irving will miss the rest of the regular season and playoffs after surgery on his left knee. The official spoke on the condition of anonymity to The Associated Press because the team has not released the news. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
Charles Krupa/Associated Press

There is reportedly some concern in the Boston Celtics organization that guard Kyrie Irving will leave via free agency in 2019.

Chris Mannix of Yahoo Sports (h/t NBC Sports Boston) said Thursday on his podcast that the New York Knicks are considered a threat to sign Irving when he hits the open market:

"I think they're scared. I think they're scared and should be scared to some degree of Kyrie Irving walking in 2019. 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.

"You know, things can change. Obviously, you go to Boston and you become the face of the franchise. You're on a winning team. Maybe the mindset has changed significantly?"

Irving has an opt-out clause in his contract that can make him an unrestricted free agent following the 2018-19 season.

Boston acquired Irving in a trade with the Cleveland Cavaliers last offseason.

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The 26-year-old Irving was named an All-Star for the fifth time in his career during the 2017-18 campaign, as he averaged 24.4 points, 5.1 assists and 3.8 rebounds per game.

He also shot a career-best 49.1 percent from the field and connected on 40.8 percent of his three-point attempts.

Irving missed the entire postseason, however, after undergoing knee surgery.

Despite Irving missing the playoffs and Gordon Hayward missing the whole season due to injury, the C's reached the Eastern Conference Finals, where they lost to the Cavs in seven games.

Provided Irving and Hayward return to full health, Boston will have a loaded team in 2018-19 that also includes young stars in Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown and Terry Rozier, as well as veteran forward Al Horford.

The Celtics have the potential to be the top team in the Eastern Conference for many years to come if Irving decides to stay in Beantown.

While title contention appears to be in Boston's future, the Knicks haven't reached the playoffs since 2012-13.

They are coming off a 29-53 season, but there is some reason for optimism with head coach David Fizdale now at the helm.

Kristaps Porzingis is one of the fastest-rising big men in the NBA despite the fact that he suffered a knee injury that cut his 2017-18 campaign short.

If Porzingis heals up and returns to form, his presence could be attractive to Irving, since the pairing would have the potential to be perhaps the best inside-outside combo in the NBA.

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