Kyrie Irving didn’t have much to say when asked about the possibility of former teammate LeBron James joining him on the Boston Celtics this offseason.
“In this business, I’ve experienced it all and I’ve seen a lot, so we’ll see what management decides,” Irving told reporters Tuesday.
Irving requested a trade from the Cleveland Cavaliers last offseason after playing in James’ shadow for three seasons, and he got his wish when he was dealt to the Celtics. Now, James has the potential to opt out of the final year of his deal, and the Celtics have been linked to the sport’s biggest star as a potential suitor.
“Obviously, it’s a business at the end of the day,” Irving said. “Ownership and management, they’re going to feel what’s best for our future and I’m fully supportive of (them). We’ll see what happens.”
Also on the docket for the Celtics is assessing Irving’s future with the team. The 26-year-old is eligible for an extension this summer, though he noted agreeing to such a deal “doesn’t make any sense” considering the potential to make up to $80 million more next offseason.
“I think you guys can feel my attitude is really just redemption next year,” Irving said. “Really integrating myself with our team again and really focus on winning a championship. That’s the only thing I’m really worried about. Until I get to that point, then I can’t really answer any questions. I’m pretty sure management and I will have a talk, but that talk won’t happen now.”
Irving is looking forward to getting back on the court after a successful first season with the Celtics (24.4 points, 5.1 assists per game) was cut short at 60 games by a knee injury that required surgery. Even without their biggest star (and Gordon Hayward), the Celtics made it within one win of the NBA Finals.
“I couldn’t be more proud of what [the team’s young players] experienced — I mean they went to Game 7 of the frickin’ Eastern Conference finals,” Irving said. “For me, I’m just glad everyone got to learn how special they were on a bigger stage.
“I’d been talking about how great [the younger players] were. Some of their numbers probably didn’t look as appealing to the outside-looker, but they were just — they were always locked in. And then when they were afforded the opportunity to take the reins of the team, you saw them take full advantage of it. You saw guys that literally are going to be stars in this league for years to come.”
Irving is expected to be ready by the start of training camp in the fall.
“Me and my strength and conditioning coach, we’re taking it one day at a time,” he said. “I think around this time is probably 15 weeks until the third week in September — not that I’m thinking about it or anything — so I’m excited to just really utilize this offseason to dedicate myself to my craft and things outside of it.” — Reporting by Field Level Media