Celtics All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving said Tuesday that a contract extension this summer doesn't make sense for him and that while he's already bracing for the daily questions about his future, his sole focus is on getting healthy for next season and helping Boston take another step toward title contention.
"Contractually, financially, [an extension] just doesn't make any sense," Irving said.
Irving is eligible for a four-year, $107 million extension, but that would be $80 million less than what Irving could earn if he waits until the summer of 2019 and re-signs with Boston after opting out of the final year of his current pact.
."I think you guys can feel my attitude is really just redemption next year. 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
Later, Irving added, "The focus is solely on winning a championship next year. I don't think [impending free agency will] necessarily have an effect. I'm doing my best to kind of deflect all that and focus on what's in front of us."
"I could't be more proud of what [Boston's young players] experienced -- I mean they went to Game 7 of the frickin' Eastern Conference finals," Irving said with a playful shrug.
"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 said his backup, Terry Rozier, proved he's an NBA starter but that "turns into an unbelievable dynamic" for Boston next season. He raved about Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum, then noted how Marcus Smart gave up his body and "that's the type of attitude and effort you'd love to be part of."
When he referenced Hayward, Irving smiled wide and added, "and now getting my man Gordon back -- I'm excited man. I'm excited
."Irving didn't try to deflect when asked about James
and the possibility that the Celtics could be a wild-card suitor if James opts out of the final year of his deal.
Irving did note that he hasn't had any conversations with Boston's front office about James and said he appreciates the transparency of team brass as they map out their future vision.Asked whether he'd be open to reuniting with James, Irving said, "In this business, I've experienced it all and I've seen a lot, so we'll see what management decides."