Boston Celtics star Kyrie Irving hoped to curb questions from the media about his impending free agency when he announced his intention to re-sign with the Celtics at a season-ticket holder event in September.
He largely has, save for a the day after and a few stray inquiries from New York media over the weekend. He will not, however, ward off opposing GMs hoping to lure him in unrestricted free agency, according to a report from ESPN’s Brian Windhorst. Teams are aware Irving’s history of injuries could make Boston hesitant to offer a full five-year deal, and they know a verbal commitment technically means nothing.
“Plenty of executives have the magnet with Irving’s name on it slapped in the ‘UFA’ (unrestricted free agent) column on their whiteboards,” Windhorst wrote on Wednesday.
The Celtics’ slow start has generated some amount of concern, although Brad Stevens pointed out the team’s poor shooting in Monday’s loss to the Orlando Magic was a result of missed shots rather than bad looks. Boston will also need some time to coalesce as all of the stars try to work their games around each other.
But Irving seems content in Boston and happy as the season approaches, and even when he praised New York on Saturday, he was quick to offer reasons why he is excited to remain with the Celtics.
“If you were in my position, I think it would be an easy decision for you as well,” Irving said. “Thinking about who we have and the future and what we’re set up for. For me, it was, where I am in age, and how I envision my career going, kinda the lineage of guys that have come before me in the Boston Celtics, it’s something that I wanted to be a part of. Obviously my dad and my mom met in Boston, so I had a lot of history there as well. Obviously, being from Jersey, had history there, but, Boston, there’s nothing like it.”
In other words, Celtics fans can probably rest easy. But don’t be surprised if the noise continues in spite of Irving’s attempts to limit it.