Kyrie Irving’s time as a leader of the Boston Celtics is all but certain to come to an end this summer when he opts out of his contract and leaves the franchise in free agency. The point guard is said to be keen to team up with another elite NBA star – and his first preference is Kevin Durant of the Golden State Warriors.

The Brooklyn Nets have been touted as Irving’s next destination and it is now being reported that he is trying to recruit the Warriors forward to join him. The New York Knicks were initially placed as the front runners for the duo but the odds seem to have shifted toward Brooklyn in recent weeks.

ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith had previously reported that Irving and Durant were 95 percent certain to end up at Madison Square Garden next season, but he is now claiming that Irving has met with Nets and is now trying to convince Durant to make the move with him. The eyebrow-raising part of the new claim was about Irving having traveled to the Bay Area recently to try and change the Warriors forward's mind.

"Do you know how excited I was to be told there's a 95 percent chance KD and Kyrie are coming to New York?" Smith said Monday on "The Michael Kay Show", as quoted on NBC Sports Bay Area. "Do you know how depressed I was to have to turn around six weeks to two months later to tell you 'Damn it, they changed their minds?' Kyrie went to see the Brooklyn Nets, then he flew out to the Bay to see KD and now KD is contemplating changing his mind. It makes me sick to my damn stomach."

Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant Kyrie Irving (L) and USA's guard Kevin Durant look on from the substitutes' bench during a Men's round Group A basketball match between China and USA at the Carioca Arena 1 during the Rio 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Aug. 6, 2016. Photo: ANDREJ ISAKOVIC/AFP/Getty Images

The Irving-Durant combination is certain to make any team post-season contenders and New York were hoping to sign both the players before Nets became major players. The Brooklyn franchise has traded Allen Crabbe to Atlanta Hawks and if they release D’Angelo Russell, they will have around $60 million in max salary cap space, which will allow them to make a move for two big free agents this summer.

Despite the strong rumors about Irving and Durant’s imminent switch, the Celtics and Warriors have still not given up. Both the players will be offered max contracts by their current employers, but at the moment it is seen as unlikely that they will re-sign.

However, Durant’s Achilles injury, which he suffered after playing 12 minutes in Game 5 against Toronto Raptors in the 2019 NBA Finals could alter the free agency. If it is an Achilles tear, the small forward could face almost a year on the sidelines, similar to Warriors teammate DeMarcus Cousins.