The Celtics remain "cautiously optimistic" about retaining Kyrie Irving after this season

By Charlotte Carroll
February 06, 2019

The Celtics remain "cautiously optimistic" about retaining Kyrie Irving after this season, reports ESPN's Zach Lowe. 

According to Lowe, while the Celtics are hopeful, the "the events of the past week—Irving's comments, New York opening up a second maximum salary slot—have shaken them."

At the end of January, there were reports of growing uncertainty on whether Irving would re-sign. Irving publicly said in October he planned to re-sign with Boston. But then last week, Irving told reporters to "Ask me July 1." This season, Irving has criticized the team's younger players and made some amends with LeBron James. 

Irving will likely be targeted by the Knicks and Lakers in free agency. New York traded Kristaps Porzingis to Dallas. As the Anthony Davis trade rumors heat up ahead of Thursday's deadline, the only way Boston could acquire Davis is by directly swapping Irving due to the "Derrick Rose Rule." 

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Irving was traded to Boston from the Cavaliers during the 2017 offseason. Last season with the Celtics, Irving averaged 24.4 points and 5.1 assists in 60 games before a lingering knee issue forced him miss the postseason. The 26-year-old is in his eighth NBA season.

Boston is 35–19 for third in the Eastern Conference. The Celtics next face the Lakers on Thursday night. 

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