Danny Ainge believes now is the time to chase dreams, not worry about what might come next.
The Boston Celtics president of basketball operations addressed Kyrie Irving’s potential entry into free agency this summer during an interview with NBC Sports Boston’s Abby Chin on Thursday. Most NBA watchers expect Irving to opt out of his contract this summer and pursue a new deal, but that’s not something over which Ainge frets as Boston’s first-round playoff series with the Indiana Pacers nears.
“We’re just focused on the here and now,” Ainge said. “Kyrie and I have talked a lot, and we’re trying to be grateful for the opportunity that we have right before us.
“I’m not trying to not answer your question. Really. Obviously in free agency there’s A through Z in possibilities and through the draft, and that’s going to be a very big time. But right now, it’s the playoffs, and the playoffs are really fun. This is what we’re all about.”
Irving said prior to this season he intended to re-sign with the Celtics, but he has backtracked since then, and the team’s underwhelming regular season might have boosted his chances of leaving Boston.
The New York Knicks likely will be among Irving’s most serious offseason suitors, and some pundits predict he’ll team up with fellow free-agent-to-be Kevin Durant in New York or elsewhere.
Boston’s playoff success or failure might affect Irving’s decision on his future, and Ainge probably is right not to fan flames of speculation at this pivotal moment in the season.