Since the 2018 NBA offseason started, rumors and speculation have continued to swirl that Kyrie Irving will leave the Boston Celtics once he becomes an unrestricted free agent next summer. Irving’s decision to decline the contract extension offered by the Celtics heated up the speculation about his nearing departure from Boston. In the past month, numerous reports also claimed that the All-Star point guard is planning to team up with his close pal and Team USA teammate, Jimmy Butler, in 2019.
Like Kyrie Irving, Jimmy Butler also rejected a contract extension with the Minnesota Timberwolves. In a recent interview with Jackie MacMullan of ESPN, Irving talked about his impending free agency and his rumored interest in playing alongside Butler. The Celtics superstar denied that there is an ongoing discussion between him and Butler regarding potentially teaming up in 2019.
Irving revealed that the last time he and Butler had a lengthy conversation was in 2016 where both were discussing their future with DeMarcus Cousins and Kevin Durant. The 26-year-old point guard also explained that his decision not to sign the contract extension with the Celtics doesn’t necessarily mean that he will leave the Celtics to team up with Butler or play somewhere else.
Kyrie Irving isn't planning to bolt from Boston anytime soon https://t.co/ghCcMc9eqU
— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) September 22, 2018
Financially, signing a contract extension doesn’t make any sense for Kyrie Irving since he can earn more money when he inks a new deal as an unrestricted free agent. Irving is aware that his name will continue to surface in various rumors until the next offseason, but as of now, the All-Star point guard looks happy to be a member of the Celtics.
“I’m accepting it’s going to be a constant story,” Irving said. “It’s a point in my professional career where it is a big-time decision. I’ve been away from Cleveland officially for a year now, and I’m finally getting acclimated in Boston. Last year it was almost like a trial. There was a lot going on. It was overwhelming at times, to be honest. The focus needed to be directed on getting better and helping my new team win a championship, instead of focusing on all the outside noise [regarding his departure from Cleveland] that affected me personally.”
So far, the Celtics are emerging as the favorite team to fully dominate the LeBron James-less Eastern Conference in the upcoming 2018-19 NBA season. Though most people expect the Golden State Warriors to win their third consecutive NBA championship, Kyrie Irving is very confident that the Celtics can beat the reigning NBA champions in a best-of-seven series. If they succeed to dethrone the Warriors, it is highly likely that Irving would consider staying long-term in Boston.