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Unrestricted free-agent-to-be Kyrie Irving is preparing to leave the Boston Celtics for the Brooklyn Nets, Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald reported, citing sources.
Irving, 27, reportedly is opting out of his contract, as many suspected.
He has strongly been linked to the Nets, and to a lesser degree, the New York Knicks, Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Clippers.
Irving has parted ways with agent Jeff Weschler, per ESPN, and is moving on to Jay-Z’s ROC Nation Sports for representation. Jay-Z, of course, is a former part-owner of the Nets and helped with the team’s move from New Jersey to Brooklyn in 2012.
“According to a source with ties to ROC Nation, the organization expected to become Irving’s new representative, the All-Star point guard is expected to sign with the Brooklyn Nets when he becomes a free agent next month,” Bulpett reported.
“A separate league source told the Herald that his team (not the Celtics) has received the same information and is operating under the belief that Irving wants to join the Nets.”
Along with being linked to the Nets, Irving and Golden State Warriors star Kevin Durant had been rumored to be thinking about joining the same organization. Durant can also opt out of his contract — though a rupture Achilles’ tendon may change his summer plans.
“As reported here last month, a Golden State source said that Irving had definitely spoken to Durant about teaming up once they became free agents,” Bulpett wrote. “Another source in that story said the problem was that Irving wanted Brooklyn, while Durant was leaning toward the Knicks.”
Irving averaged 23.8 points and 6.9 assists in 67 games this past season. But the Celtics failed to reach the Eastern Conference finals for a third straight year, with each of the previous two coming without Irving. Record-wise, there has been no dramatic shift for the Celtics one way or the other whether Irving is playing, resting or injured.
Irving requested a trade from the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2017, following the team’s third consecutive run to the NBA Finals. The Cavs won the championship in 2016.
Meanwhile, the Nets seemingly waiting to see what other free agents decide before determining whether to match offers for guard D’Angelo Russell, a restricted free agent. The addition of Irving would likely spell the end for Russell in Brooklyn.