Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times has a take that’s hotter than the New England weather:
A league source close to the situation told the Sun-Times on Tuesday that Kyrie Irving and former Bulls All-Star Jimmy Butler are still trying to figure out a way to play together. Whether that means the Celtics try and acquire Butler this summer or the two simply wait a year, both opt out of their player options after the season, and join forces that way.
Either way, the two former Team USA Basketball teammates are looking for a destination to build an elite backcourt, whether that’s in Celtics green or elsewhere in the East.
Irving has already said he won’t be signing a contract extension this summer. As for Butler, a league source said that he also has no intentions of signing an extension with Minnesota, all but fed up with the nonchalant attitude of his younger teammates, specifically Karl-Anthony Towns.
First off, any reporter who cites Butler and Irving’s refusal to sign contract extensions this summer without clearly stating it would cost them each upwards of $90 million dollars is being disingenuous.
Secondly, friends don’t always get to play together. Just look at LeBron James, Chris Paul, and Carmelo Anthony. We’ve endured Banana Boat reports every year since 2015.
The NBA is widely unpredictable but a Butler/Irving pairing seems unlikely at the moment. If the Celtics offer Kyrie Irving a 5-year, $180+ million deal, I’m fairly confident he’s taking it. If Danny Ainge doesn’t think he’s worth the risk, then anything is possible.
I don’t see any way Butler joins Irving in Boston unless the Celtics woefully underperform this season and there’s a dramatic roster shake-up.