Kyrie Irving
Kyrie Irving can enter free agency in 2019 after refusing to sign a new deal with the Celtics. In this picture, Irving #11 of the Boston Celtics answers questions from reporters during Boston Celtics Media Day at High Output Studios on Sept. 25, 2017 in Canton, Massachusetts Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

Kyrie Irving still has 11 months on his contract with the Boston Celtics before he can opt out and become an unrestricted free agent in 2019, but that has not stopped the speculation mounting about his future post the 2018-19 campaign.

The Celtics point guard added fuel to the fire by declining to sign a new deal and making it clear he will wait until next summer before making a decision on his future.

Irving is almost certain to enter free agency in 2019 and will be courted by a number of franchises. The New York Knicks are said to be very interested in signing the five-time All-Star, while the Brooklyn Nets have also been linked with a move.

New York Times’ Marc Stein recently suggested there has been no indication that Irving wants to leave Boston next summer, while also stating talks about a potential move to the Knicks is pre-mature.

However, Fox Sports’ Colin Cowherd refuted those comments Wednesday by claiming there is truth in speculation linking Irving with a move to New York next summer. He was adamant it is a “real story” and asked basketball fans to keep an eye on it as it developed throughout the year.

Cowherd believes the Knicks have the cap space to sign a star like Irving next year, but insists players in this era are always looking at joining forces with other top players. In recent weeks there have been talks that Jimmy Butler of the Minnesota Timberwolves is keen on playing with Irving and could join him in New York.

“Don’t buy it, this Kyrie Irving to the Knicks thing is real,” Cowherd said on the show “The Herd,” as quoted by the Express. “He would be leaving a great franchise to a bigger city, Boston to New York – but New York is different. [James] Dolan probably getting out of the ownership business.”

“This is a real story, keep your eye on it but don’t for a second tell me markets don’t matter. What happens is, small markets draft in some really good players. [Russell] Westbrook and Seattle had [Kevin] Durant and they moved to Oklahoma City, Indiana gets Paul George.

“Tim Duncan goes to San Antonio and they look like they’re dominating the league but in the end in an era when stars are joining each other, in an era when the NBA has never been more star-driven and mobile, and in an era when people are joining forces and moving regularly, in and out of sports, don’t tell me New York is not viable,” he explained.

“Cap space next year, stars moving – they’ve already moved, watch this story on Kyrie Irving and the Knicks. It is a real thing.”

Irving will have the final say on whether he leaves the Celtics or stays next summer. The point guard could always opt out and re-sign with NBA’s most successful franchise on a new lucrative deal.