Boston Celtics star Kyrie Irving will be one of the NBA’s most sought-after free agents next summer, but he says he’s not going anywhere.
“If you guys will have me back, I plan on re-signing here,” Irving said Thursday during an event at TD Garden.
Take this with a grain of salt, of course, as Irving famously told a young Cleveland Cavaliers fan in 2013 that he wasn’t going to leave but then forced his way out four years later. Still, this has to be music to the ears of Celtics fans, and it makes perfect sense.
Irving, a five-time All-Star who spent six seasons in Cleveland, is one of the league’s top point guards, and the Celtics have a bright future. It starts with Irving and All-Star Gordon Hayward, who both suffered season-ending injuries last year, but up-and-coming stars Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown and Terry Rozier also make this group so intriguing.
At media day last week, Irving praised the Celtics for developing into one of the top teams in the league and becoming a true title contender.
“Obviously it’s everybody else’s job to look forward to my future before I can, so I just really thought it was important to make sure it’s known that this franchise is really built for the next few years of being at the top tier of teams in the league,” Irving said. “Who wouldn’t want to be a part of that? What more could you ask for from an organization to really elevate your game?
“When you want to be on the same lineage of greatness as the guys that have come before you, there are times where I have thought about having No. 11 in the rafters, hopefully, one day. That’s a dream. It wasn’t so much like that coming out, but it’s the truth. I feel that way about my teammates, I feel that way about the organization and I’m looking forward to the challenge this year.”