Kyrie Irving now knows the power of his words and he’s using them to his advantage.
ESPN’s Jalen Rose made that argument Friday morning on “Get UP” when interpreted the Boston Celtics point guard’s stated intention to re-sign with the team in the offseason. Irving delighted Celtics season ticket holders Thursday night when he said, “If you guys will have me back, I plan on re-signing here next year.”
Rose’s interpretation of Irving’s statement focuses on the first part of it.
“He’s sending three different (messages),” Rose said. “One to the fans: ‘I’m dedicated to being in Boston. I’m loyal to the program.’ Number two to the media: ‘Now you can stop asking me.’ Number three to the organization: ‘Now Danny Ainge (Celtics general manager and president of basketball operations), you’re on the clock because this might be the last iteration of this current team as it’s constructed.’
“Here’s why: They make it to the (Eastern) Conference finals without Kyrie Irving, who’s a free agent after this year, without Gordon Hayward, but he’s already under contract for the next few years. Guess what they did offseason? They re-signed Terry Rozier … They also re-signed Marcus Smart … All of those guys aren’t going to be able to co-exist in a salary-cap driven sport long-term. So therefore, now it’s going to be time to choose.”
“… They’re (the Celtics) going to have to decide to keep Kyrie and/or lose a couple of players in the process.”
While Rose’s interpretation of Irving’s words might dampen enthusiasm over Thursday’s announcement, the ESPN NBA analyst also serves Celtics fans well.
Irving recently has issued some subtle cues and overt indications about his Celtics future, signaling that serious consideration over his next move is underway in earnest. And as Rose points out, contract negotiations often span weeks or months and they happen in private and public.