Kyrie Irving Rumors: Teams Think Nets Favored over Knicks If PG Leaves Celtics

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistJune 12, 2019

Boston Celtics guard Kyrie Irving watches the game action from the bench during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Brooklyn Nets, Saturday, March 30, 2019, in New York. The Nets won 110-96. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
Mary Altaffer/Associated Press

If Kyrie Irving signs with a New York team as a free agent this summer, the Brooklyn Nets appear to have an early lead over the New York Knicks.

Per SNY.tv's Ian Begley, teams keeping an eye on Irving's situation "remain under the impression" the Nets are his most likely destination if he leaves the Boston Celtics

Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium reported Irving won't opt in to this deal with the Celtics, making him a free agent this summer. 

Signs have been pointing toward Irving favoring the Nets over the Knicks heading into free agency for the past week. 

ESPN's Stephen A. Smith said last week on First Take that Irving "has given every indication" to the Nets they are the place he wants to go:

First Take @FirstTake

Things @stephenasmith is hearing: -Kyrie is planning on committing to the Nets -If the Warriors win the Finals, KD will leave https://t.co/jcurgMsPMS

Per ESPN.com's Adrian Wojnarowski, Brooklyn cleared $18 million in cap space by trading Allen Crabbe to the Atlanta Hawks and could have up to two max slots available this summer if D'Angelo Russell leaves as a restricted free agent. 

Irving is coming off a frustrating 2018-19 campaign with the Celtics. He was a key figure in the drama that plagued the team throughout the season, but his raw numbers were among the best of his career. The six-time All-Star averaged 23.8 points and 6.9 assists in 67 games and shot over 40 percent from three-point range for the third consecutive year. 

The Nets were one of the NBA's biggest surprises. They made the playoffs for the first time since 2014-15 and increased their win total from 28 last season to 42 in 2018-19.