Despite making four consecutive appearances in the NBA Finals — complete with a historic comeback and championship in 2016 — Kyrie Irving sought to get out from underneath LeBron James’ shadow and demanded a trade from the Cleveland Cavaliers.
He was dealt to the Boston Celtics in a trade that was expected to shift the landscape of the Eastern Conference for years to come.
However, Irving battled injuries in his first season with the Celtics and in April 2018 was ruled out for the remainder of the year and playoffs because of a procedure to remove two screws inserted in his left patella after a patellar fracture suffered during the 2015 NBA Finals.
Irving returned in good health this past season but he and the Celtics struggled to adjust to one another. All the while, Irving’s pending free agency continued to bubble under the surface and at times led to combative moments.
There were several signs indicating Irving was poised to join the Brooklyn Nets, he has agreed to sign a four-year, $142 million deal, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic:
Souces: Kyrie Irving has agreed to a four-year, $142M deal with Brooklyn. Fourth-year player option.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) June 30, 2019
Upon being traded to the Celtics, Irving’s early comments suggested he remained committed to the franchise beyond his contract that expired with the conclusion of the 2018-19 NBA season. However, Irving began to grow testier when pressed on the matter.
That led to reports of his interest in the Nets and New York Knicks, potentially to join forces with Kevin Durant.
The Los Angeles Lakers reportedly had interest in reuniting Irving and James, particularly after trading for Anthony Davis and following that up by clearing enough salary cap space to sign a free agent to a max contract.