Some choice comments from the MacMullen article, seems like he's really locked into the idea of winning here. A couple other interesting points form the article: apparently he went vacationing in the Bahamas with Tatum. And he mentions Jaylen Brown first as he's listing the players who make him want to stay here. Jaylen Brown, AKA the younger version of Butler.The concept that Kyrie was limited in his ability to attack the ring is almost mind-boggling. How unstoppable in the paint can a slim 6'3" guard be??
Irving said he's aware that he's been linked to Jimmy Butler in persistent free-agent rumors regarding a mutual desire to play together in New York, but he said he's had no such discussions with Butler. In fact, he said, the last time he talked to Butler at length was when they were both playing with USA Basketball, and the two engaged in a spitballing session along with Durant and Cousins about what the future held for each of them.
"And that," Irving laughed, "was in 2016."
"Who wouldn't be a part of this?" Irving said, gesturing to Boston's new practice facility. "Who wouldn't want to be a part of Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum and Al Horford and Gordon Hayward? People keep saying, 'Why won't he commit to Boston?'
"Well, there are financial implications involved."
If Irving had signed an extension with Boston this past summer, he would have potentially left more than $80 million on the table than if he waits and re-signs with the Celtics next summer.
Last season, Irving gutted through persistent soreness and irritation caused by hardware from a 2015 surgery to repair a broken kneecap. He was forced to shut it down in March, underwent two additional surgeries, then spent much of his offseason methodically fine-tuning that left knee to the point where he believes he is the healthiest and strongest he's been in three years
"I'm moving completely differently," Irving told ESPN on Friday, just days away from the official start of training camp. "I've worked on my strength and have a heightened awareness of what my body needs on a day-to-day basis. I spent all summer trying get my left leg to catch up with my right. And it's there."
"Our pickup games are next level," Irving said. "I mean, next level. You can't believe what we're doing out there. We can't wait to get started."
He claimed to have a confidence in his lower body that simply did not exist during his abbreviated 2017-18 season.
"Now when I go to the rim," Irving explained, "I'm able to maintain my strength and athleticism, so when I get under there I have all sorts of options. No limitations. I can pick my spots. It's a lot better."
Pressed if he would be disappointed if they didn't win a championship, Irving responded, "Can we beat Golden State in a seven-game series? Yes."
What makes him so sure?
"Because of who we have," Irving answered, "and what we're establishing here, not just for this season, but for hopefully for the next few years, something that's pretty special.
"I've played against Golden State in three straight Finals (2015-17) -- two that I was able to participate in -- and seeing them evolve, with the talent they have, and then adding DeMarcus Cousins [this offseason], it's like 'OK, the whole league is on notice.'
"But there's one factor that they're aware of, and I'm aware of, and that's that I've seen them up close. I've played them so many times. We've gone in a seven-game series [when he was in Cleveland], so I know what it takes.
"Now, how do I communicate to our guys that this is the top-tier team, and we have to grow immensely in the next six months to beat them consistently? Not just one game, not just two, but in a seven-game series, because they're so dang great. They're a powerhouse."
"The drive for greatness, the drive to win a championship, that's all I care about," he said. "The rest of it doesn't matter."
Yeah, that is good to hear. If can take his game up yet another notch that will be... very nice.
I also like how he talks about seeing how good the Warriors are close up, and how he knows how good his team will need to be to beat them. IMO he realizes the potential around him, and that this is the only team with a real shot to dethrone them.