When word broke Wednesday that Jimmy Butler reportedly was trying to force his way out of Minnesota, people inevitably began to wonder if it was the first domino that would lead to the Timberwolves guard and Kyrie Irving teaming up next season.
Rumors have swirled about the two starts wanting to play together after this season, but the Boston Celtics point guard put that talk to rest in a recent interview with ESPN’s Jackie MacMullan.
Irving, who dazzled through 60 games with the C’s last season, told MacMullan that he hasn’t spoken to Butler about joining forces since 2016 when both were with Team USA Basketball and the two chatted with DeMarcus Cousins and Kevin Durant about their futures.
That was the last time they talked about teaming up, according to Irving.
“Who wouldn’t be a part of this?” Irving asked MacMullan, in reference to the Boston Celtics’ new Auerbach Center. “Who wouldn’t want to be a part of Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum and Al Horford and Gordon Hayward? People keep saying, ‘Why won’t he commit to Boston?’
“Well, there are financial implications involved.”
While Irving has been open about the fact that he won’t sign an extension with the Celtics during the season, as it would cost him somewhere around $80 million, it does sound like the guard is looking toward a long-term future in Boston.
“I’m accepting it’s going to be a constant story,” Irving said of the rumors. “It’s a point in my professional career where it is a big-time decision. I’ve been away from Cleveland officially for a year now, and I’m finally getting acclimated in Boston.”
Irving told MacMullan that he believes the Celtics can beat the Golden State Warriors in a seven-game series and he believes the C’s will have something special over the next few seasons.
Couple this with the report that Butler wants to be traded to the Los Angeles Clippers, and it appears the Butler-Irving tandem might have died before it even started to materialize.
All that, of course, can change by next summer.