Boston Celtics guard Kyrie Irving is primed to join the free agency fray this summer.
Per Shams Charania of The Athletic, Irving is reportedly not opting into his deal for 2019-20. That will make him an unrestricted free agent once free agency opens on June 30. Boston had expected this move, Charania reports, and now will gear up to make its pitch to keep Irving in the fold.
Celtics' Kyrie Irving is not opting into his $21.3 million deal for next season and will become a free agent eligible to sign a new contract with Boston or elsewhere, league sources tell @TheAthleticNBA@Stadium.— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) June 12, 2019
Boston has expected this ahead of Irving’s option date on Thursday. For Irving, it is an opt-in so no paperwork necessary to enter free agency. https://t.co/8ecykuIyi7— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) June 12, 2019
Irving is coming off a stellar season in which he averaged 23.8 points per game and a career-best 6.9 assists per game while shooting 48.7 percent from the floor and 40.1 percent on 3-pointers. He was named to the All-NBA Second Team (his second All-NBA nod in his career), adding to a career that includes an NBA championship, an All-Star game MVP, a Kia Rookie of the Year Award and six All-Star appearances.
A week ago, Celtics president Danny Ainge addressed the media about Boston's looming summer. NBA free agency rules forbid players and teams from working on deals until the free-agent moratorium is lifted at 6 p.m. on June 30. When asked by reporters about Irving's exit interview with the team after the playoff loss to Milwaukee, Ainge said, "It was good."
Overall, Ainge was mostly mum about whether or not Irving will be back in Boston come the 2019-20 season.
"I don't know, I mean, there's not much I can say about that, honestly. But there's ongoing conversations. We'll just have to wait and see what happens there," Ainge said.
When asked if there were any indication from Irving's camp that he does not want to come back to Boston, Ainge said that was not true.
"I have not received that indication, no," Ainge said.