Boston Celtics guard Kyrie Irving has opted out of his current contract and will test free agency this summer.
Irving's decision to become a free agent was essentially a foregone conclusion. Even if he wants to stay with Boston, opting out and negotiating a new deal is the most advantageous thing to do from a financial standpoint.
Still, Irving's choice to opt out is the first necessary step to his highly-publicised free agency - one that has many teams looking to add his talent to their rosters.
Irving parted ways with his longtime agent Jeff Wechsler and is expected to sign with Jay-Z's Roc Nation, according to multiple reports on Wednesday.
Roc Nation also represents Golden State Warriors star Kevin Durant, fueling rumours that Irving and Durant hope to play with the same team.
Irving, the first overall pick in the 2011 draft by the Cavaliers, was scheduled to make $21.3m for the final year of the $94.3m pact he originally signed with Cleveland. Irving, who won the 2016 championship with the Cavs, is a six-time All-Star who joined the Celtics for the 2017-2018 season.
Durant, whose Golden State Warriors trail the Toronto Raptors 3-2 in the NBA Finals, ruptured his right Achilles tendon in the second quarter of a Game 5 victory on Monday night in Toronto after returning for the first time since injuring his right calf in early May.
Durant, 30, tweeted out a photo of himself recovering in a hospital bed after surgery Wednesday in New York. He will be sidelined for up to 12 months.
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Durant has to choose between taking his $31.5m player option for the 2019-20 season and recovering with Golden State or going ahead and testing free agency this offseason. He also could wait and try free agency next summer.
The New York Knicks and Brooklyn Nets have both created enough space to pursue Irving, according to reports.