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Danny Ainge: Boston Celtics’ Kyrie Irving ‘can be the best player in the world’

Boston Celtics GM Danny Ainge might be one of the biggest Kyrie Irving fans in the world.

That’s saying quite a bit, since Irving has plenty of enthusiasts. But even among enthusiasts, the sentiment Ainge expressed to the Athletic’s Joe Vardon carries some heft: That Kyrie Irving “can be the best player in the world.”

Here’s Vardon:

“I think he feels more comfortable with everything in his life and the organization and where he is as a player,” Ainge said. Readers should note that Ainge brought up Irving during the interview unsolicited.

“I think he’s anxious to be a leader, not anxious to just lead the team in scoring or be the most efficient player on our team, but I think he really wants to hold the guys to a high standard.”

Ainge gave Vardon those comments earlier this week, prior to Irvng’s somewhat stunning announcement to TD Garden season-ticket holders that he plans to re-sign with the Celtics over the summer. Irving’s desire to re-sign isn’t an enormous surprise, but his willingness to verbally commit an entire season before unrestricted free agency is eye-opening.

Verbal commitments mean nothing concrete until a player actually signs, but Irving is making it crystal clear where he wants to be. Presumably, Ainge won’t do anything to try to squeeze a player he believes can be the best in the world. Everybody is happy.

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