BOSTON – Kyrie Irving’s comments earlier this week came as close as anything we've heard from the free-agent-to-be in proclaiming he’ll remain a Celtic when the free agent dust settles this summer.
“What he’s saying publicly, I think he’s genuinely excited about the team and he likes being here in Boston,” said Celtics co-owner Wyc Grousbeck during an interview on 98.5 the Sports Hub’s Felger & Mazz show. “And that’s the idea. That’s why we wanted to make a stretch and get him last year because we thought once he saw it here, he would take to it.”
Irving is expected to opt out of his contract this summer to become one of the more sought-after free agents.
But he gave some insight earlier this week on how he views the Celtics team this season and the franchise in general.
“You think about how much talent we have and how special we are, as individuals,” Irving said in an interview with NBC Sports Boston. “But the attitude and the camaraderie and the environment that the Boston Celtics have created over a tradition of years is something that I’m grateful to be a part of. It’s about a brotherhood. Great players before you have sacrificed. Great players before you have committed to winning a championship and what that entails. Great players before you have done that. So why are you any different? There is no special treatment for that. You’re going to be who you are and we support that. We want you to be the best you can be.”
Grousbeck has no issues with what Irving has said or not when it comes to his free agency status.
“I think he’s fully within his rights to say nothing except, ‘let’s play this year’ and ‘I’m going to be a free agent,"’ Grousbeck said. "He doesn’t owe me anything. He doesn’t owe, I don’t think the fans of Boston in fact, even anything, to commit right now. I think he’s saying ‘I’m very happy, let’s play basketball.' "
But the stories surrounding Irving’s impending free agency won’t go away anytime soon. He reiterated his love for Boston in another interview with ESPN's Rachel Nichols released Wednesday.
You know all the talk about Kyrie Irving as one of the elite free agents available next summer? Not so fast. Here's what he told me: "Even if I ever try to think about that thought of going elsewhere, it would be like 'what are you thinking? We're pretty f-ing good here." pic.twitter.com/QEM4XMDvWM— Rachel Nichols (@Rachel__Nichols) September 26, 2018
“I’m just not too worried about Kyrie,” Grousbeck said. “I think he’s going to see what we have and he’s going to be part of leading it and building it. And if you lead something and build something in Boston, that’s a legacy. And that could end up in the rafters [with a retired jersey number], OK. And you really can’t say that anywhere else.”