Speaking to reporters Tuesday afternoon, Boston Celtics point guard Kyrie Irving said he doesn’t plan on signing a contract extension with the franchise this offseason.
Irving will be an unrestricted free agent during the summer of 2019 if he declines his player option and will likely command a max contract. The All-Star is set to make $20.1 million in 2018-19.
“Contractually, financially, it just doesn’t make any sense,” Irving said. “My hope is we can limit it to maybe one question a day about what I’m doing next year. I think it’s unfair in terms of putting responsibility and also putting that communication with other guys. The focus is solely on winning a championship next year. I don’t think it’ll necessarily have an effect [on the team]. I’m doing my best to kind of deflect all that and focus on what’s in front of us.”
Irving’s first year with the Celtics was cut short after the superstar guard underwent season-ending knee surgery in April. Before going down, Irving was averaging 24.4 points and 5.1 assists in 60 games while shooting 49.1 percent from the field and 40.8 percent from beyond the arc.
With both Irving and Gordon Hayward expected to be healthy next season, the Celtics are primed to contend for a championship. Without Irving and Hayward during this year’s postseason, Boston took LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers to seven games in the Eastern Conference Finals, so one would surmise they will be even more lethal with their two stars back.
“We’re getting my man Gordon back,” Irving said. “I’m excited. We have championship pedigree. Nobody’s going to be going at JB [Jaylen Brown] as hard as Gordon is and nobody’s going to be testing Gordon when he’s coming back and integrating himself back in like JT [Jayson Tatum] is.”
Irving, who is recovering from two knee surgeries, says he can’t run yet but is “feeling good” and expects to be healthy for training camp in September.