The Celtics are struggling, and pending free agent Kyrie Irving isn't happy.
"The young guys don't know what it takes to be a championship-level team," Irving told reporters on Saturday after the Celtics' latest loss. "What it takes every day. And if they think it is hard now, what do they think it will be like when we're trying to get to the Finals?"
Irving said last year that his plan was to re-sign with the Celtics when he hits free agency after the season, but it's fair to wonder if his unhappiness amidst the Celtics' struggles could change that plan.
The 26-year-old Irving, who grew up in West Orange, NJ, said before his claim that he would be re-signing with the Celtics that he would have strongly considered signing with the Knicks.
"I mean, every team was under consideration but obviously New York held a special place for me," Irving said "Just being from (New) Jersey and obviously envisioning myself as a free agent and ultimately taking a meeting and playing for (Knicks head coach David Fizdale) and a great young core that they have here. Thinking about playing with (Kristaps Porzingis). That was a big thing before I made my decision just to ... plan on re-signing back with Boston. But yeah of course New York was a strong consideration."
A recent report claimed the Knicks no longer view 2019 as a "make-or-break" free agent summer, but the club is expected to have enough cap space to go after at least one max player. And there's the possibility they could clear enough space to land two.
The Knicks have been linked to pending free agent Kevin Durant, who said in November that his spat with teammate Draymond Green wouldn't impact his decision on whether or not to leave Golden State.
Aside from Durant and Irving, Kawhi Leonard, Klay Thopmpson, and Jimmy Butler are among the marquee free agents who could hit the open market.