Kyrie Irving: NBA insider provides fresh Boston Celtics update | Other | Sport


That’s according to ESPN reporter Cassidy Hubbarth.

The 26-year-old has a player option on the five-year, $94million deal he signed with the Cleveland Cavaliers four years ago, before he was traded to Boston in 2017.

Irving told the crowd at a fan event at the Celtics’ TD Garden back in October: “If you guys will have me back, I plan on re-signing here.”

Yet the point guard has recently been linked with the Los Angeles Lakers after he publicly revealed he had apologised to LeBron James for wanting too much too soon at the Cavs. 

Those comments came shortly after criticising the younger players on his Boston team, declaring that they still “have a lot of learning to do”. 

Kyrie back-tracked on those claims but has since continued to fuel speculation that he may leave the Celtics despite initially declaring he would stay.

That’s with Anthony Davis potentially on his way to the Lakers, instead of joining Boston, and Kristaps Porzingis’ move to the Dallas Mavericks having opened up the space for two max contract players to join the New York Knicks, who have been heavily linked with Kevin Durant as well as Kyrie.

Irving said on Friday morning when asked if his mindset had changed about re-signing with the Celtics: “Ask me July 1. At the end of the day, I’m going to do what’s best for my career, and that’s just where it stands. 

“My focus this season is winning a championship with the Boston Celtics. Obviously, we had goals coming into the season, and the primary goal is to win a championship. So that’s where my focus is.”

As the Celtics faced the Knicks – one of Irving’s possible free agency landing spots – at Madison Square Garden on Friday night, New York fans made their feelings known with chants of: “We want Kyrie!” 

And Hubbarth says that while Irving is yet to indicate to the Boston organisation itself he wants out, there is a degree of concern within their hierarchy that he could leave.

The Celtics beat the Knicks 113-99 at MSG to improve to 33-19 and jump up to fourth in the Eastern Conference, but there is doubt as to whether they will make the NBA Finals to likely face the Golden State Warriors given the competition from Milwaukee, Toronto and Philadelphia in particular.

Hubbarth told ESPN’s coverage of New York-Boston: “It’s been a wild week in the NBA with the trade request of Anthony Davis, Kristaps Porzingis, which has also sparked interest in Kyrie Irving’s future. 

“According to sources the Celtics have been hearing all the same rumours and they have some worry that how the season will end will ultimately impact his decision. 

“But in conversation with the Celtics’ front office, Kyrie has reiterated that they are fine and his stance from the pre-season has not changed. 

“This morning’s comments are a bit of a departure from that.

“But when I asked Kyrie if he’s felt increased pressure internally from the Celtics about his commitment, Kyrie said: ‘It’s kind of like college recruitment all over again.’ 

“So I wonder who has a better sell, Duke or the Celtics guys?”

Co-commentator Doris Burke added: “We talk all the time about organisations being in constant conversations about players and fit and doing evaluations. 

“In this day and age, so are the players. Kyrie will ultimately decide on any number of factors.

“What’s their performance in the playoffs? How deep do they go? How does Gordon Hayward look? 

“How have the young players advanced? What does he believe is coming Boston’s way in the summer? He’ll evaluate just as the organisations do.”

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