Danny Ainge likely to pitch Kyrie Irving on 5 year max contract with trade request option

Hey, so hear me out for a second Kyrie

With the long expected news that Kyrie Irving will not opt-in to the final year of his contract he will officially become a free agent, free to negotiate and sign with any team starting on the evening of June 30th. Of course this was always the expected outcome. Even if Kyrie had planned to stay in Boston, he was going to become a free agent and sign a 5 year max deal here.

With the Celtics odds of retaining their all-star point guard appearing slim, word is that Danny Ainge hasn't given up hope yet. Ainge isn't one to regret a trade. While the Celtics surrendered one of their very valuable unprotected Nets first round picks as the centerpiece in the Irving deal, Ainge isn't looking back. Now even if you are in the camp of fans that grew extremely frustrated with Kyrie Irving this past season, it still behooves the Celtics to not lose an asset for nothing. Irving signing with the Nets or Knicks would leave the Celtics with nothing.

My ideal scenario has always been for the Celtics to re-sign Irving and then trade him. He's still talented and young enough that there would be several suitors come the trade deadline this season. And if Ainge wants to have any chance of convincing Kyrie to stay in Boston he has to pitch the following three points:

  1. You have a better chance to compete for championships on the Celtics than with the New York teams. If you want another veteran star, we can go all-in for Anthony Davis. We'll have better chemistry next season, because we'll have more defined star and supporting roles. Brad has been busy for a month making adjustments already.
  2.  You can make the most money if you stay in Boston. Long term security is always a good thing. You never know when you might suffer a career altering or ending injury.
  3.  If things don't work out this season and you're not enjoying being a Celtic, you can privately request a trade to me and I will grant it.

According to The Athletic's Frank Isola, the Golden State Warriors were preparing a similar pitch of a trade option to Kevin Durant prior to his achilles injury:

The Golden State Warriors were prepared to pitch Kevin Durant on a long-term contract this offseason with the understanding that they would grant him a trade should he wish to leave the team at any point.

I still expect the Warriors to make this pitch. With regards to Irving, he guarantees himself the most money and long term security with this offer and also can feel confident he wouldn't be stuck in a situation he isn't liking. It's mutually beneficial to both Irving and the Celtics as a 2020 opt-out in his contract would only bring about another season of questions. The trade option allows Irving to not be limited in 2020 to teams with cap space (if he had an opt out) and the Celtics would get assets in return if Irving is traded.

And sports are a crazy thing. I've seen crazier things before. Things could go great for the Celtics this season and fans will love Kyrie again and he'll embrace them back like Isaiah did before him. And the chaos of this past season will become a footnote. Who knows right? Sports are funny like that.