BOSTON (CBS) — Though he’s a man who wants to live in the present, Kyrie Irving knows he’s going to get bombarded with questions about his future.
The Celtics guard can opt out of his contract after next season, making his future in Boston a bit murky. Throw in some vague comments from him regarding that future, and it’s been one of the hottest topics since the Celtics’ season ended.
But Irving is would really like to minimize those inquiries going forward, and his focus is currently on basketball.
“My hope is we can limit it to maybe one question a day about what I’m doing next year,” Irving said with a smirk on Tuesday.
Irving held court with reporters while promoting his movie, Uncle Drew, which hits theaters on June 29. He expects Boston’s brass to discuss an extension with him at some point in the near future, but won’t be signing it this summer. Irving will be eligible for a max contract from Boston if/when he opts out, so he’d be leaving quite a bit of money on the table if he were to re-up with the Celtics this offseason. He has spoken with the Boston front office about the team’s direction, and ultimately, that will be his deciding factor when it comes to re-signing with the Celtics or moving on to a third NBA team.
But that is all a long ways away. Besides, Irving has more important things to worry about this summer.
“My attitude is really just redemption next year,” said Irving. “Really integrating myself with our team again and winning a championship.”
Irving isn’t running from questions about his future. Actually, he isn’t really running much at all following an April procedure on his left knee. But Irving did say his rehab is progressing nicely and thinks he’ll be ready for training camp in September. He’s taking his time and making sure he’s good to go for what he hopes is a run to a title with the Celtics next season.
“I’m feeling good. It was going to be a process coming back, making sure that I’m healthy enough for September,” he said. “So I’m just trying not to push it too hard, just taking my time with the rehab and feeling good.
“I think around this time it’s probably 15 weeks until the third week in September — not that I’m thinking about it or anything,” he added.
Irving was forced to watch Boston’s run to the Eastern Conference finals from the bench, which was not easy for a guy who already has one championship to his name. But he was proud of what he saw in Boston’s young roster, and is eager to get back into the mix next season.
He was especially impressed with the progress of second-year guard Jaylen Brown and rookie Jayson Tatum, who played pivotal roles in getting the Celtics one win away from the NBA Finals.
“I’m glad everyone was able to see how special they were on a bigger stage,” he said. “When they were afforded to take the reins of the team you saw them take full advantage of it. You saw guys who will literally be stars in this league for years to come.”
Irving sees big things for the Celtics in the 2018-19 season, and was extremely happy when talking about returning to the floor alongside forward Gordon Hayward
“We’re getting my man Gordon back,” he said. “We have championship pedigree. We have experience.”
That championship pedigree could enter a different stratosphere if rumors about LeBron James possibly coming to Boston come to fruition. But that also creates an interesting dynamic, given Irving wanted out of Cleveland to escape LeBron’s shadow just last summer.
Irving said he has not had any talks with the Celtics about adding LeBron, and he wouldn’t say if he would be open or opposed to a reunion. But being a seven-year veteran of the league, Irving isn’t ruling anything out.
“In this business, I’ve experienced it all and I’ve seen a lot,” he said. “So we’ll see what management decides.”