Morning sports update: NBA insider thinks Kyrie Irving will return to the Celtics and is ‘playing all of you guys right now’

"I think he comes back and he comes back with an attitude; a little edgier with not just his words but his play."

Kyrie Irving Celtics NBA
Kyrie Irving during the Celtics-Bucks series in 2019. –Barry Chin / The Boston Globe

The Bruins advanced to the Stanley Cup Final for the third time in nine years with a 4-0 win over the Hurricanes on Thursday night in Carolina. The victory completed Boston’s four-game sweep.

Boston will face either San Jose or St. Louis, who are currently still playing the Western Conference Final (San Jose leads the series, 2-1).

The NBA insiders who think Kyrie Irving is staying: The Celtics’ season ended with a disappointing loss in the Eastern Conference Semifinals against the Bucks. Kyrie Irving, who was supposed to be the centerpiece of another Celtics title run, can (and likely will) opt out of the final year on his contract to become a free agent.

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Exactly where Irving goes is unknown, though it seems unlikely on the surface that he would return to Boston given the difficult circumstances of the season’s end.

Still, some NBA insiders think Irving will be back in Boston next season.

“He’s playing all of you guys right now,” a Western Conference front office executive told NBC Sports Boston reporter A. Sherrod Blakely. “Say what you want about his leadership and all that nonsense, but the one thing we know about Kyrie is he will do what is best for Kyrie. The money, chance to win a title sooner rather than later, have his own team … all that stuff matters and when he looks at all the different options he’ll have, I think he’ll have one of those, ‘what the hell was I thinking?’ moments and go back to Boston.”

And one NBA scout told Blakely that, “I think he comes back and he comes back with an attitude; a little edgier with not just his words but his play.”

NBA players who can opt out of their contracts have until June 29 to do so.

Trivia: The last time the Bruins clinched a berth in the Stanley Cup Final, it came in a 1-0 win to sweep the Penguins in 2013. Who scored the lone goal in that game? (Check the bottom of the article for the answer).

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Hint: Though not drafted by the Bruins, he played the first nine seasons of his NHL career in Boston before being traded to a New York-based team.

More from Boston.com:

Alex Cora had a simple message for the Bruins:

The Boston sports domination is not quite unprecedented:

Saving 90 of 91 isn’t bad:

The Bruins were on during the Reds’ rain delay:

The Tigers lost to the Athletics 17-3, for the record:

On this day: In 1979, the Phillies beat the Cubs 23-22 in an incredible 50-hit display from the two teams. Mike Schmidt’s home run proved to be the deciding moment in a wild game. Cubs left fielder Dave Kingman hit three home runs, and first baseman Bill Buckner drove in seven RBIs, yet Chicago still lost.

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Daily highlight: A play-by-play broadcaster for the Somerset Patriots caught a foul ball during his own broadcast and narrated it:

Trivia answer: Adam McQuaid

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