Celtics play-by-play announcer Mike Gorman doesn’t think it’s a given point guard Kyrie Irving will be with the team beyond the upcoming season.
“[Danny Ainge] doesn’t like to put the untouchable label on anybody,” Gorman told Evan Valenti of CLNS. “I do think [Jayson] Tatum is untouchable myself. I think it would take some unbelievable offer to wrest him away from Boston right now. But I think everyone else is in play to some degree.”
Irving is under contract through the 2019-2020 season, but he can opt out after the 2018-2019 season. The Celtics could also include Irving in a trade package, which — as Gorman noted — would likely yield a “whole lot” in return.
Several big names could be on Boston’s radar, particularly Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard and Pelicans center Anthony Davis, but Gorman said Davis is “the only player [he knows] of that the Celtics would really put everybody on the table for.”
“I don’t think he’s going to leave New Orleans, so that’s a moot point,” Gorman told Valenti. “But Danny has a way of sometimes making things happen that don’t look like they’re going to happen.”
Should Irving stay with the Celtics — which, based on Ainge’s comments during the team’s exit interviews, seems like the leading scenario — Gorman said the All-Star’s health is worth monitoring.
“I think Kyrie’s record over the course of his career would tell you that injuries have been a problem,” he said. “I think you have to be smart here and look at what the facts are, and understand that they may be a problem going forward, too. Gordon Hayward hasn’t given any indication in the past that he’s injury-jinxed in any way, shape, or form. Kyrie, on the the other hand, does have a history of injuries.”
Irving’s left knee has been a problem since his 2014-2015 season with the Cavaliers. After tendonitis ruled him out for two games of Cleveland’s conference semifinals series against the Atlanta Hawks, Irving suffered a fractured knee cap in Game 1 of the NBA Finals against the Golden State Warriors.
He missed the remainder of the series.
Irving underwent surgery to repair the knee in 2015, but nagging soreness continued to plague him this season. To alleviate the discomfort, Irving underwent two additional surgeries in March and April. The second sidelined him for the entirety of the postseason. He is expected to make a full recovery, according to the team.
“You’d like to see Kyrie, who’s in a contract year next year, to have the season of his career,” Gorman said. “I think the big measurement for Kyrie going forward is how many games can you reasonably get out of him.”