Celtics Rumors: Kyrie Irving, Al Horford Free Agency and Jaylen Brown Trade

David KenyonFeatured ColumnistJune 20, 2019

Kyrie Irving and Al Horford could be walking away from the Celtics this offseason.
Kyrie Irving and Al Horford could be walking away from the Celtics this offseason.Michael Dwyer/Associated Press

What a difference one offseason makes. Within 12 months, the Boston Celtics have shifted from a hopeful powerhouse on the rise to a franchise in potential disarray.

Barring a startling turn of events, All-Star guard Kyrie Irving and veteran center Al Horford are expected to leave in free agency. Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium said the Celtics are preparing for the "strong scenario" both will depart.

And as the rest of the NBA feels Boston's turbulence, front offices have already inquired about one of the team's key returning players.

Suddenly, there's a whole lot of news before the Celtics even use their trifecta of first-round selections in the 2019 NBA draft.


Irving 'Ghosting' the Celtics

Over the last few months, the possibility of Kyrie leaving Boston has shifted from a possibility to the likely result.

And it appears Boston can't do anything about.

MEMPHIS, OH - DECEMBER 16:  Kyrie Irving #11 of the Boston Celtics walks off the court after the game against the Memphis Grizzlies on December 16, 2017 at FedEx Forum in Memphis, Ohio. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloa
Joe Murphy/Getty Images

"The strangest part of the Irving situation right now is that it appears he has essentially ghosted on the Celtics," per Adam Himmelsbach of the Boston Globe. "The people within the organization I have spoken with have made it clear that they have had little, if any, communication with Irving in recent weeks."

Considering how NBA free agency has evolved and many wink-wink agreements are made before free agency officially begins, this is not a promising development for the Celtics.

If Boston doesn't feel confident about its chances to re-sign Irving, the draft becomes even more important.

Terry Rozier is a restricted free agent but might not be worth the money he's seeking. If the Celtics prefer not to extend a high-dollar, long-term offer, they'll need to use a couple draft picks on potential replacements for Irving and Rozier.


Horford Has A New Leader

Even though Horford declined a $30 million player option, the initial concern about the decision was minimal. The veteran understandably wants one final big-money contract, and opting out actually provided the Celtics with some financial flexibility.

Plus, a Tuesday morning report from ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowsi noted Boston and the 33-year-old were interested in working toward a new deal. Neither development was a surprise.

Less than 12 hours later, though, Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald revealed the conversations had ended.

Steve Bulpett @SteveBHoop

Major change in the Al Horford situation: Per source close to Horford, his side is no longer discussing a new 3-year deal to stay with the Celtics. He is expected to sign a 4-year free agent contract elsewhere... Story to come.

Uh, that was unexpected.

Kevin O'Connor of The Ringer has since reported the Dallas Mavericks are considered the favorite to land Horford, while both the Los Angeles Clippers and Los Angeles Lakers are interested.

Boston likely won't give up on re-signing him, but those discussions are beginning to appear ill-fated.


Teams Interested in Jaylen Brown

According to Himmelsbach, a few clubs with top 2019 draft picks are interested in Jaylen Brown.

Adam Himmelsbach @AdamHimmelsbach

Have heard from a few places today that some teams near the top of the draft are wondering about Jaylen Brown's availability.

The report does not suggest the Celtics are actively looking to trade Brown, nor does it infer they should. Still, NBA executives are always looking to capitalize on a frazzled front office; this is a test of Boston's poise in hectic time.

Granted, a less dramatic rationale also exists.

Other teams can't be certain how highly Boston rates specific players in the draft class, and it's worth exploring whether a top-five selection for Brown garners the Celtics' attention.

Given the likelihood of Irving and Horford signing elsewhere, Boston probably isn't much entertaining the discussions.


Follow Bleacher Report writer David Kenyon on Twitter @Kenyon19_BR.