Kyrie Irving is energized as the Celtics prepare for training camp and the preseason. After dealing with a nagging knee injury that ultimately cost him the final month of last season and the playoffs, Irving is ready to prove himself, Jackie MacMullan of ESPN writes.
“I’m moving completely differently,” Irving said. “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.”
Not only will the upcoming season be important for the Celtics — who chase another deep postseason run — it will be key for Irving as enters free agency next summer. Irving will be one of the most sought-after free agents available and a strong, healthy 2018/19 in Beantown will mean a heftier contract. However, interested teams should take note of how Irving worded his answer to why he hasn’t committed long-term to Boston.
“Who wouldn’t be a part of this?” Irving said. “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.”
Check out more Celtics note below:
- The Knicks have long been rumored as a potential destination for Irving next summer as the team will have the cap space to land at least one top free agent — possibly two. However, Irving has not spoken to Jimmy Butler — another potential Knicks target next summer — since 2016, which decreases the chances of New York landing both, SNY’s Adam Zagoria writes.
- Al Horford is coming off a productive season with the Celtics, which leads to the question of what the veteran center can contribute in his third year with the team. A. Sherrod Blakely of NBC Sports Boston examines how Horford will impact Boston on the court this season.
- Prior to his arrest for alleged domestic assault and kidnapping of his girlfriend, Celtics’ guard Jabari Bird was being treated for ’emotional issues,’ per Steve Bulpett of The Boston Herald. Sources tell Bulpett that this was an “out of character” occurrence for Bird, who had been experiencing “panic attacks” in the weeks before the incident. The Celtics were aware that Bird was undergoing treatment.