There is a brewing battle among NBA Insiders over where Kyrie Irving will play next season, exposing where the ubiquitous gossip hounds seemingly get their information.
Stephen A. Smith remains insistent Irving will sign with the Knicks, even though the Celtics can offer him $50 million more than any other team. Last week, Smith declared there’s a 95-percent chance Irving will play his home games at Madison Square Garden next year.
It’s not surprising Smith is pushing the Kyrie-to-New York connection, given he’s based in Manhattan and seems to have sources in the organization. He’s broken numerous Knicks-related stories over the years, with a noticeably pro-team bent, such as when he reported Jeremy Lin was “ungrateful” and let his fame get to his head shortly before the Knicks decided to not match the Rockets' free agent offer to the popular guard.
Last summer, Smith said the Knicks were in the mix to land Kawhi Leonard, which did not happen and wasn’t widely surfaced elsewhere.
Given Smith’s history, it’s not surprising he’s pushing the Knicks as the top suitor for Irving. On the opposite coast, however, NBA Insider and LeBron whisperer Brian Windhorst keeps floating the possibility of Irving reuniting with LeBron James in LA.
"As time passes here and as the possibility exists that Jason Kidd could be hired as the Lakers coach, I think the possibility of Kyrie and LeBron reuniting — that door, which was deadbolted, has been un-deadbolted and has now been cracked open,” Windhorst said on ESPN recently, via CBS Sports. "It might even be opening more by the day. And I say that just because I think it's on Kyrie's radar, it's on Kyrie's board. He has had discussions with people about playing for the Lakers."
Smith repudiated his colleague’s report Monday on “First Take,” saying he received a text message from a person close to Irving’s family that squashed the speculation.
“I got a text message from folks close to Kyrie's family, within the hour, as we were teasing this subject. Quote: 'There is no way in hell he's going to LA,'” Smith said. “'I don't give a damn what anybody says, knock that down for us right now please. He ain't going to LA.' That's what they say."
Two rumor mongers with seemingly different sources carrying different interests are peddling very different Kyrie stories. In the coming weeks, more Insiders will probably enter the fray, too.
Get ready for a wild summer, and always keep in mind where the rumors may be coming from.