Celtics source laughs off idea Irving might leave after season

Kyrie Irving and the Celtics were bounced in the second round the playoffs by the Bucks.

The Boston Celtics have no reason to believe All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving will back out of a verbal commitment he made to the team earlier this season, according to a report from Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald.

Per Bulpett, Celtics sources instead believe Irving will opt out of his contract at the end of the season and re-sign a longer and richer deal than he could receive elsewhere.

“There have been reports to the contrary — that he is strongly weighing his options and perhaps even leaning toward the door — but one source very close to the situation laughed and suggested that sowing doubt regarding Irving is in the best interest of others who are, of course, free to pursue their agendas,” Bulpett reported.

Irving and the Celtics have been in the news a lot lately, as they are reportedly make an aggressive run at New Orleans Pelicans star Anthony Davis, who requested a trade over the weekend.

An ESPN report suggested the Celtics are willing to part with anyone but Irving (as well their multiple first-round picks) to acquire Davis.

“Making Davis and others wonder whether Irving will stay with the Celtics could push the New Orleans star more toward the Lakers, who are reported to be his preferred destination,” Bulpett wrote. “But if any of that matters to Davis, it could all be rectified in one conversation between Irving and AD during All-Star Weekend two weeks hence.”

The Celtics’ main issue in talks with the Pelicans is something known as the Rose Rule would prohibit them from acquiring Davis at Thursday’s trade deadline (unless they surrendered Irving, which would defeat the purpose).

Instead, Boston must wait until the offseason to complete a trade for Davis.

Danny Ainge’s affection for longer shots didn’t evaporate when he stopped playing,” Bulpett wrote, citing sources. “And he has stated to his NBA peers a confidence that any player with Boston doubts will be won over once he gets here and sees the roster, coaches and organization.”