After Jimmy Butler's request for a trade last week, Kyrie Irving's upcoming free agency has been the talk of the town.
The potential of Irving leaving Boston for New York has been a topic discussed on and off throughout the offseason, but with Butler's trade request, the rumors only grew louder.
In an exclusive interview with NBC Sports Boston, Irving ackowledges that he understands the spotlight that has been put on the situation he faces after this season.
“It comes with the territory, which I understand, and also, the point I’m at in my career, it warrants that, naturally.”
But Irving reiterated what he has been saying most of the offseason: that he knows he's in a a special situation with the Celtics, and appreciates that to its fullest extent.
“It’s like, man, if you only knew how special this organization was, and how special these guys are in this locker room... even if I had the inclination to test free agency, Boston’s gonna be like, ‘No, you’re coming back’. And I’m fine with that”
That certainly doesn't sound like someone who has one foot out the door, ready to bolt for the Knicks at the end of the year.
Irving also discussed his comfort level and familiarity, in comparison to this time last year.
“I think coming into this year, how comfortable I am, and being around the guys, it’s a lot different than just coming in off a trade... the focus is different, the feeling is different, the love is just the same… it’s just a lot more elevated, which I’m appreciative of."
Irving seems as excited as anyone about the upcoming season, and Celtics fans love to hear his glowing sponsership of the team and locker room that they've come to love over the last season.
Irving didn't sign an extension over the offseason, but it's been well-documented that it is a financial decision more than anything; he can earn tens of millions more if he waits until the end of this year. From all accounts, including Irving's, that's all it was: a financial decision.
It's a long season and anything can happen, but the early returns indicate that we should get used to the sight of Irving in Celtics green.