The 2019 NBA free-agent class is loaded with superstars, but that's provided that they all opt to test the market. One jewel of the class, Boston Celtics guard Kyrie Irving, has apparently already made the decision to re-sign with Boston next summer.
Irving is expected to decline his $21.3 million option for the 2019-20 season and become an unrestricted free agent, but he told fans at a Celtics season-ticket holder event on Thursday that he plans to re-sign with the team next summer.
"I've shared it with some of my teammates, as well as the organization and everyone else in Boston. If you guys will have me back, I plan on re-signing here next year." Irving said to a rousing ovation at the TD Garden.
In case you thought he may have just gotten carried away in front of his home fans, Shams Charania of The Athletic later reported that Irving has privately committed to Celtics ownership as well.
Sources: Kyrie Irving has met with Celtics ownership and has been direct with his message to Boston's brass over past few months: He's committed long-term to the franchise.— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) October 4, 2018
Based on what he's said leading up to the 2018-19 season, Irving has been leaning toward staying in Boston, but it's still a bit surprising to hear him commit this early. Perhaps he's sick of hearing all the questions about his upcoming free agency, and wants to be able to concentrate on the Celtics' championship quest.
This will have a ripple effect on 2019 free agency, as the idea of pairing with Irving on another team may have been enough to influence the decision of another star (Knicks fans were dreaming of a trio of Irving, Kevin Durant and Kristaps Porzingis). Of course things can always change, but for now it appears Irving will be a Celtic for the foreseeable future.