Menu Close

2019 NBA free agency: Kyrie Irving explains why he chose to leave Celtics for the Nets

In a video shared by his new representation, Roc Nation Sports, All-Star guard Kyrie Irving explained why he decided to leave the Boston Celtics and sign with the Brooklyn Nets in free agency this summer. As it turns out, the opportunity for Irving to return home to the area where he grew up — Montclair, New Jersey — was a determining factor. 

“In my heart, I always knew I wanted to play at home,” Irving said in the video. “Home is where my heart is. It’s always been there. Simply because of such a great love that I have for my family and the way I grew up … I wouldn’t change anything about this journey. It’s brought me back here and that’s home, and home is where my family is, home is where I want my legacy to continue. And I’m happy to be in Brooklyn.”

You can see Irving’s video below, via NBA on ESPN

Though he ultimately decided on the Nets, Irving had also previously strongly considered signing with New York’s other team. 

“Every team was under consideration but obviously New York held a special place for me,” Irving said last October shortly after he had verbally committed to re-sign with the Celtics, via New York Daily News. “Just being from Jersey and obviously envisioning myself as a free agent and ultimately taking a meeting and playing for [Knicks coach David Fizdale] and a great young core that they have here … Yeah, of course, New York was a strong consideration.”

Irving may have always wanted to play in New York, but publicly he has done a complete 180 in the past nine months — since he told an arena full of Celtics fans that he would be back in Boston. 

“I’ve shared it with some of my teammates as well as the organization as well as everyone else in Boston,” Irving said at an event for season-ticket holders at TD Garden in October, via the Celtics. “If you guys will have me back, I plan on re-signing here next year.” 

Irving is certainly entitled to a change of heart, but it’s safe to say that he won’t be a very popular person in Boston moving forward.