Concerns about Kyrie Irving’s future in Boston arose due to his decision not to resign with the team this summer. There are some who speculate that because of this Irving is a “flight risk.” These views could not be further from the truth.
Kyrie Irving sat down with the Boston media on Tuesday to discuss his plans moving forward. He spent the entirety of the meeting gushing about the team and his excitement heading into next season. His main focus is on staying healthy and doing what he can to help the team contend for a championship. He labeled the upcoming season a “redemption year”.
“I think you guys can feel my attitude is really just redemption next year. Really integrating myself with our team again and really focus on winning a championship. That’s the only thing I’m really worried about.”
Irving made a point to talk about his desire to deflect the attention he is garnishing over his impending free agency.
“The focus is solely on winning a championship next year. I don’t think [impending free agency will] necessarily have an effect. I’m doing my best to kind of deflect all that and focus on what’s in front of us.”
Kyrie praised what the team accomplished this season in his absence.
“I couldn’t be more proud of what [Boston’s young players] experienced — I mean they went to Game 7 of the frickin’ Eastern Conference finals.”
Irving went on to rave about the potential of the young guys on the team, stating that, “there are guys that are literally gonna be stars in this league for years to come.” Kyrie cracked a big smile when he mentioned Gordon Hayward’s return, adding, “and now getting my man Gordon back — I’m excited man. I’m excited.”
Kyrie believes that with the experience the young guys got in the absence of both him and Gordon the team now has championship pedigree. He fully expects the team to contend for a championship next year and many years to come.
What the world can take from this interview is that in the present Kyrie Irving is happy. He’s pumped to get back to basketball and play with a good young group of guys. Kyrie cannot wait to see fellow All-Star Gordon Hayward back at full health. He’s also ecstatic about the direction the organization is heading in, and he is excited to be a part of it.
Kyrie Will Not Re-Sign with Boston This Summer, nor Should He
Irving knew the question would be coming. When questioned about signing an extension with the team this summer, he gave a brief response.
“Contractually, financially, [an extension] just doesn’t make any sense.”
This is the statement that has fans around the NBA talking and analysts debating. Kyrie Irving is not willing to consider signing an extension with the Celtics right now. What many may not know is that he shouldn’t be expected to.
Here is a breakdown of his current financial situation.
Irving would stand to lose upwards of $80 million dollars by signing an extension with the team this year. If Kyrie waits until the summer of 2019, then chooses to opt out of his player option (which he will) he will become an unrestricted free agent. At that point Irving can choose to re-sign with the Celtics on a 5-year $188 million-dollar max contract or leave the team for a 4-year $139 million-dollar max deal.
Even for a guy worth as much as Kyrie Irving $80 million dollars is a whole lot of change to leave on the table. It would make absolutely zero sense for the man to re-up at this time. Kyrie even mentioned in his meeting with the media that he has yet to have a talk with Ainge about his contract. As much as Danny Ainge would like him to re-sign now, he won’t expect the 26-year-old to do so.
The Case for Irving’s Eventual Re-Signing
According to Adam Kaufman of CLNS Media, the Celtics can offer Irving more than anyone else can next summer. With the ability to offer a 5-year max deal Irving can make $49 million more by re-signing with Boston than he can in a 4-year max offer from anyone else. As per league rules Boston has the sole opportunity to offer Irving a 5-year deal, whereas everyone else can offer a maximum of 4.
Boston gives Kyrie Irving the best chance to win moving forward. The team consists of a very young core with overflowing potential. With Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum, the team has two future all-star talents at the wing positions. Gordon Hayward and Al Horford are NBA All-Star veterans with playoff experience. Terry Rozier is a starting caliber point guard that will be coming off the bench behind Irving next year. The team is also very deep, with Marcus Morris, Marcus Smart, Shane Larkin and the emerging German Daniel Theis rounding the meat of the roster out.
The sweetest part for Kyrie? He will be given the opportunity to head arguably the league’s most talented team for years to come.
Irving trusts Danny Ainge and the franchise’s management group. He feels that having faith in the front office “puts things at ease” and allows himself to focus on what is important going into next season. He talked about having an “open book relationship” with the guys in charge, something Irving has openly expressed a desire for in the past. In fact, it was his lack of faith in Cleveland’s front office that became one of the major factors behind his discontent and eventual departure from the Cavaliers.
The Brad Stevens Effect
Perhaps the biggest chess piece Boston holds in the eventual Kyrie Irving sweepstakes is head coach Brad Stevens. Stevens turns 42 this October and is already considered one of the greatest minds in the league today. He is a finalist for the 2018 NBA Coach of the Year award, and just capped off his fifth season as an NBA head coach. He has improved the team’s record in every year of his career. Brad Stevens has always had an ability to draw the most out of his players. He does a phenomenal job at putting them in the best possible position to succeed.
When Irving landed in Boston last summer he spoke about his desire to build upon his craft. He wants to develop his game and become a more well-rounded athlete. There is no coach who suits Irving better with his personal goals on the basketball court than Brad Stevens.
All is Well, For Now
Kyrie Irving has yet to meet with Danny Ainge to discuss his future with the franchise. When he does, this meeting will take place behind closed doors. Ainge will have the chance to ask Kyrie if he see’s himself in Boston long-term. If the world discovered anything about Kyrie Irving after last year’s Cavs drama it’s that the man is very honest. He did not shy away from his feelings with (former) Cavalier GM David Griffin when they sat for such a meeting. He gave Griffin a list of teams he was interested in, and the rest is history.
It is presumable that Irving will offer the same level of transparency with Ainge as he did with Griffin. If the unexpected happens and he shares with Ainge a desire to play elsewhere things in Boston will get interesting.
Boston’s front office is famous for getting maximum value out of every transaction they make. In the scenario where Kyrie decides he wants out, they will not hesitate to move the young star. If trade talks begin to arise surrounding Irving this offseason, then that is the time to be concerned. Assuming he isn’t dealt by the start of the season, then chances are good he will re-sign with the team.
Until then fans can rejoice in the fact that Kyrie Irving will be back and fully healthy for the team next season.