Point guard Kyrie Irving will reportedly opt out of the final year of his contract with the Boston Celtics, allowing him to become an unrestricted free agent this summer, league sources told The Athletic's Shams Charania.
Irving's $21.3-million player option for 2019-20 is well below the going rate for a player with his bona fides. He already boasts six All-Star appearances, a pair of All-NBA selections, and was a key member of the title-winning Cleveland Cavaliers in 2016. For comparison's sake, Damian Lillard - Irving's All-NBA second-team backcourt mate this season - is slated to make $29.8 million with the Portland Trail Blazers next year.
The 27-year-old now stands to make considerably more money over a new long-term deal - up to approximately $189.7 million over five years if he returns to Boston, according to Forbes' Tommy Beer.
If Irving signs elsewhere this summer, he can still receive a contract up to $140.6 million over four years. The Brooklyn Nets' recent cap-clearing moves are reportedly linked to their pursuit of the mercurial star.
In his second season with the Celtics, Irving averaged 23.8 points, 6.9 assists, five rebounds, and 1.5 steals per game. However, the team as a whole failed to live up to high expectations, as the Milwaukee Bucks ousted Boston in five games in the conference semifinals.