Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error The world is flat!The space landing was faked!After the furor died down, Kyrie said he just wanted evidence and hoped to stimulate debate.Meanwhile, back here on Earth …The Celtics are now a disappointment, a problem for Kyrie since they’re now his team, which is what he wanted in Cleveland.This prompted him to take responsibility … no, not, on himself. Instead, he took it and placed it on the young Celtics.After a Jan. 12 loss in Orlando, dropping them to 25-17, No. 5 in the Eastern Conference, Irving announced:“The young guys don’t know what it takes to be a championship-level team. What it takes every day. And if they think it is hard now, what do they think it will be like when we’re trying to get to the Finals?”As if.The young players, led by Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown and Terry Rozier, enjoy a special cachet with fans after taking the team to Game 7 of the Eastern Finals last spring with Irving and Gordon Hayward both sidelined with injuries.On the other hand, Coach Brad Stevens has gone heavily with veterans. Against Orlando, Tatum was the only starter on a rookie contract with Irving, Al Horford, Marcus Morris and Marcus Smart.Maybe Kyrie envies the adoration the young guys get while he carries so much pressure.Or maybe he’s just trying to stimulate debate.“Sometimes I may come off and say things,” Irving said by way of explanation, vowing not to question teammates in public “ever again,” noting. “I just want to win so bad.”Not that it’s merely a veterans-kids issue with Irving. Before their last play in Orlando, he argued with Stevens in the huddle. When Hayward missed the last shot that could have tied the score, Irving held out his arms theatrically on the floor, questioning the shot.All around the league, GMs were going, “Aha!”There’s a strongly held insider’s theory that Irving and Durant, who are good friends, intend to join up with the Knicks. One GM I talked to after Kyrie finally pledged to stay in Boston said, “We’ll see.”Not that this scenario is a state secret. In the Celtics’ next game, a loss in Brooklyn, Nets fans chanted, “Ky-rie’s lea-ving!”Irving then astounded all, including James, by calling LeBron, apologizing for acting like a brat when they were together and asking his advice on leading the young Celtics.The conversation was so warm, the Lakers could now be a possible destination for Kyrie, according to ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith, a reliable conduit to LeBron’s people.It’s hard for me to believe Kyrie will leave Boston and even harder to see him as a Laker, but time always tells.(And hey, he does fit perfectly with LeBron, the more so in Kyrie’s sadder but wiser phase!)Then there’s Jimmy Butler, another All-Star free agent-to-be who seemed perfect in Philadelphia and vice versa, until he did another of those Jimmy Butler things, going off on Coach Brett Brown to get him more shots.Or, what have you done for me lately, Coach?Despite their success, rising from a 9-6 start to go 20-10 since acquiring Butler, necks have been out of joint since he arrived.With Butler on a spectacular start, Joel Embiid mailed in a string of pallid performances, acknowledging he was upset at being parked on the perimeter to accommodate Butler.Now Embiid’s happy and Butler less so.There’s a big difference between the two. The personable Embiid is beloved by 76ers fans and management. Butler is on his third team in three seasons, remembered in Chicago and Minnesota as a basketball-playing Attila the Hun given to railing that none of his teammates played as hard as he did.A Chicago insider thinks Butler will stay if the 76ers max him out, which remains the way to bet … but, of course, that depends on how the season ends and whether Jimmy goes off on anyone else.It has already been wild with preparations for the summer of 2019 overshadowing the season leading up to it.The salary cap-savvy site, Basketball Insiders, lists more than 230 players who can become free agents. With 420 slots, assuming each of the 30 teams keeps 14 players, half the league might be about to turn over.The site’s Eric Pincus lists more than half the league – 16 teams – with at least one maximum slot, another unprecedented development that foretells bidding the likes of which we’ve never seen.The Lakers and Clippers, with competitive teams in a glamor market, hope to get their pick but then so do the Knicks, Nets, et al. …In the meantime, what all of them are is eclipsed by what all of them are to be. Now, the free agent summer to end all free agent summers.Of course, this is a big deal around here, once the glamor capital of the NBA, better known lately as its leader in salary cap space.A year ago the Lakers had two max-contract slots, cashed one in on LeBron James and saved the second for 2019.This year, it’s the Clippers who can create two max slots. Happily for the local teams, this isn’t a thin class like last summer’s, which was basically LeBron and Paul George. This one is loaded with stars, headed by Kevin Durant and Kawhi Leonard, and more who could be available via trades (Anthony Davis, John Wall or, perhaps, any Wizard.)The list seems to grow daily. With Memphis falling, there’s speculation that free agent center Marc Gasol, who was expected to stay, might reconsider, and guard Mike Conley might be traded, with both meeting with owner Robert Pera last week.Then there’s All-Star guard Kyrie Irving, who announced he would stay in Boston before saying another of those Kyrie things that required him to explain, once more, what he meant.Irving, an undoubtedly great player, looked normal enough until he forced the Cavaliers to trade him a year after winning their 2016 title alongside LeBron.Welcomed effusively in Boston, Kyrie refused to commit to staying last season, while sharing a bunch of his favorite conspiracy theories.