Kyrie Irving is set to become an unrestricted free agent this summer, joining a star-studded class that includes names like Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard and Klay Thompson, among others. While Irving has pledged that he wants to remain with the Boston Celtics since he joined the team in the summer of 2017, there’s been growing frustration given the team’s inconsistencies this season, which led to Irving reportedly criticizing his younger teammates. Making matters worse, when Kyrie Irving was asked about his upcoming free agency, he replied with a “ask me July 1,” which seemed more than just a little passive aggressive.
Given all that has gone on in the past few months with Kyrie and the Celtics, there was even a story a couple weeks ago that surfaced mentioning the possibility of the All-Star point guard leaving in free-agency this summer, which, ironically enough, came right at the same time that fellow All-Star Anthony Davis was requesting a trade from the New Orleans Pelicans. Davis’ agent is Rich Paul — the longtime friend and agent of LeBron James — and, as we all know, the big man was linked to the L.A. Lakers for weeks leading up to the NBA Trade Deadline last week.
Well, we’ve got more drama going on in the NBA surrounding Kyrie Irving, Anthony Davis and Rich Paul, because, while the Pelicans allegedly trolled the Lakers by not seriously considering their trade proposals, Irving’s Celtics are getting in on the blame game, reportedly accusing Rich Paul of creating the story about Irving potentially leaving this summer so to impact his client’s, Anthony Davis, interest in joining Boston.
Here’s what the source told Sporting News‘ Sean Deveney:
The Celtics were annoyed by the story of Irving having eyes for New York, not because of Irving, but because they felt the story was planted by Davis’ agent, Rich Paul, in order to scare the Pelicans into thinking Boston would back off making a trade offer for Davis in July if Irving left.
“It was cheap and underhanded,” one source told SN.
These are some serious accusations by the Celtics, but, as we saw with the Pelicans, who avoided Rich Paul dictating their franchise’s future with Anthony Davis, it seems as if more NBA teams are standing up against the whole superstars running the league thing. While LeBron James has a huge influence on other players, owners and front offices seem fed up with it, which includes Paul’s maneuver to get Davis alongside the three-time NBA champ in Los Angeles.
Who knows what Kyrie Irving will actually do this offseason. Seeing as how Antony Davis’ dad said he didn’t want his son joining the Boston Celtics after word surfaced that the point guard might not be sticking around beyond this season, it sure seems sketchy that all this was happening all at the same time. Could Rich Paul be the one creating the narrative to better position his client? It’s possible — and the Celts think it definitely happened.