The Boston Celtics took the Eastern Conference Finals to seven games without two of their starters a year ago, but calling the 2018-19 season disappointing might be an understatement. Boston is 10 games out of first place with 18 games left in the regular season, and one of the team’s stars is reportedly disgruntled.

In a feature about the team’s recent struggles, Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer said Irving had become “disengaged” around the team in recent months. According to O’Connor’s sources, Irving became this way around the time that rumors about him possibly joining the New York Knicks flared up in February.

Irving has also become more visibly annoyed with media in recent months.

The Knicks will have two max contract slots this offseason after trading Kristaps Porzingis to the Dallas Mavericks. Speculation around the NBA is centered on the idea that Kevin Durant will leave the Golden State Warriors and sign with the Knicks, as will another star player. That other player could be Irving.

There was even a minor controversy in mid-February about a conversation between the two players caught on video.



Irving notably said he would re-sign with the Celtics after the season in October. However, as the Celtics have struggled and speculation about him joining the Knicks has increased, he has backed away from that commitment.

With a 38-26 record, the Celtics are fifth in the Eastern Conference with the regular season winding down. They have lost seven of their last 10 games, including an embarrassing 10-point loss to the lowly Chicago Bulls. If the playoffs started now, they would play the Philadelphia 76ers in the first round without home-court advantage.

The team’s problems have led to questions about the roster’s chemistry, but Irving himself is having a quality season. He is a couple percentage points away from a 50/40/90 shooting season and is averaging 23.4 points, 4.9 rebounds and 6.9 assists per games. Those are easily the best rebounding and assist averages in his career.

GettyImages-866005608 Kyrie Irving #11 of the Boston Celtics looks on during the singing of the national anthem before the game against the New York Knicks at TD Garden on October 24, 2017 in Boston, Massachusetts. Photo: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images