While it seems Kyrie Irving is set on making Boston his permanent residence, at least for the foreseeable future, it's not clear if the Celtics feel as strongly about their dynamic point guard. That's the gist of Brian Windhorst's latest report for ESPN, where he details the early general manager whisperings about the 2019 free agency class. Because Windy has been known to grouse about aggregators taking what he's saying at face value, or twisting his speculative words on a podcast into click bait, we'll blockquote the whole section so we're not later disparaged for failing to contextualize what he's reporting (emphasis ours):
Now you might be saying why is Irving included? He declared that he's re-signing with the Boston Celtics and that's that. Irving seems genuinely happy in Boston and is thrilled with the current makeup and direction of the team. And he's ready to accept a five-year, $190 million deal. In fact, it seems Irving is in lock step with some front offices in fast forwarding to 2019-20. He told reporters in New York this week that he had already given the Knicks "strong consideration" but had moved on and made up his mind. Next year's free agency is already moving merrily along with the free agents themselves, it seems.
As any college coach will tell you, a verbal commitment is just that. Also, the Celtics will probably be willing to make the five-year offer to Irving, but that's not in stone at this point with Irving's history of injuries and many months to go. Plenty of executives have the magnet with Irving's name on it slapped in the "UFA" (unrestricted free agent) column on their whiteboards.
We'll try and translate because the diction is a tad muddy, primarily because the whole idea of the Celtics failing to re-sign their best player (spare us your Jayson Tatum hyperbole) inspires incredulity. However, five years and $190 million is a lot of time and money, and the Celtics are absolutely stacked, particularly along the wing. Some day they'll have to figure out what they're going to do with Jaylen Brown and Gordon Hayward, and if Tatum is untouchable, does that mean Kyrie isn't?
Like Windhorst wrote, it's likely the Shamrocks re-sign him to that five-year, Designated Veteran deal (aka the "Supermax"), but it's interesting the Celtics are slow-rolling a full commitment until the season's end, and they know he's back from the surgery to remove the screws from his patella, which knocked him out for the entirety of the 2018 Playoffs. Other teams predict he'll enter free agency without any restrictions, and it's something to keep an eye on despite his public declaration he's re-signing.