Celtics’ Irving opts out, switches agents with free agency looming

Celtics star Kyrie Irving averaged 23.8 points and a career-high 6.9 assists this past season.

As expected, Boston Celtics point guard Kyrie Irving has declined the player option on his contract and will enter unrestricted free agency, as relayed by Shams Charania of Stadium.

As perhaps not expected, Irving parted ways with longtime agent Jeff Wechsler, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

Per Wojnarowski, Irving intends to sign with ROC Nation Sports, a move that would certainly add to the speculation that Irving intends to sign with the Nets. ROC Nation was founded by former Nets part-owner Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter, who played a large role in the team’s move from New Jersey to Brooklyn in 2012.

Several reports recently have suggested that the Celtics are preparing for Irving to part ways with the organization. Along with the Nets, the Los Angeles Clippers, Los Angeles Lakers and New York Knicks have been linked to Irving.

“The Nets and Knicks have both hoped to sign Irving and Kevin Durant together into max salary slots,” Wojnarowski reported. “Durant’s free agency has been complicated by a ruptured right Achilles that will keep him out of the entire 2019-20 season. The Knicks and Nets are both still interested in signing Durant and Irving together, league sources said.”

Irving was due to earn more than $21 million with the Celtics next season. While the noise has focused elsewhere, the possibility exists that Irving could sign a larger and longer contract to return to the Celtics.

Irving, 27, demanded a trade out of Cleveland in 2017, with Boston supposedly being one of his preferred destinations. He has put up strong individual numbers with the Celtics, averaging 23.8 points, 6.9 assists and 5.0 rebounds this past season. He also shot 49 percent from the field and nearly 41 percent on 3-pointers.

But the Celtics have been just as successful, perhaps more, in the games Irving has missed. It’s been said several of Irving’s teammates would be just fine if he were to move on and play somewhere else next season.

Now, they may very well get that chance.

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