Kyrie Irving’s situation with the Boston Celtics seems delicate.
While there’s really nothing to suggest he plans to leave Boston after the 2018-19 season, when he can hit the open market as an unrestricted free agent, the All-Star point guard also has no plans to sign a contract extension with the Celtics this summer, creating questions about his long-term future.
Irving isn’t tipping his hand, either. In fact, he’s playing his potential free agency very close to the vest, choosing his words wisely when the topic comes up.
“It could be a process,” Irving told reporters Monday, per the New York Post. “Even considering that time, it seems like a long ways away. You’ve definitely seen it, observed it, other players have gone through it. You just can’t let anything infiltrate exactly where your focus is. A lot of your attention could be distracted in other areas. And we’ve seen things — our platform now, in terms of what the NBA entails, they could just draw one word and sentences start becoming whole diatribes of what he actually meant.”
Basically, Irving is well aware that he’s under a microscope, with his every word at risk of being dissected a thousand different ways. Something as simple as saying he wants to win a championship with the Celtics this season already turned into a talk radio debacle.
“I had somebody dissect me on TV saying, ‘What is he actually saying here?’ ” Irving told reporters. “So I thought that was pretty funny. ‘Kyrie is saying he wants to win a championship, what is he actually saying here?’ ”
All joking aside, Irving’s contract situation is notable — not just for the Celtics but for the NBA landscape. The 26-year-old inevitably will hear recruiting pitches from fans and players alike for as long as his future hangs in the balance, and it’ll be incumbent upon him to block out the noise as Boston looks to get over the hump in the Eastern Conference.
“I think just hearing the balance, it’s just a ways away, man,” Irving said, per the New York Post. “But (the hype) is already starting. As long as I could just divide the attention up and it just doesn’t infiltrate what I’m focused on during the season, then I’m cool with it.”
Irving said he doesn’t plan to sign a contract extension with the Celtics this offseason because it doesn’t make sense financially. That doesn’t necessarily mean he won’t eventually sign a max deal with Boston, though. It just means we’re in for an unpredictable period in Irving’s NBA career.
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