Celtics guard Kyrie Irving said at a team event on Thursday that he plans to re-sign with Boston once he reaches free agency in the summer of 2019, per Kristen Ledlow of NBA TV (Twitter link). The Celtics’ official Twitter account posted a video of the All-Star guard making the announcement to fans.
Irving, who is entering his second season as a member of the Celtics, has also communicated his desire to stick around long-term to team ownership in recent weeks, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link).
Armed with a player option for the 2019/20 season, Irving is widely expected to turn down that option and ink a new deal next July. His free agency is still nine months away and it’s unlikely that he’ll sign an in-season extension, so the Celtics’ level of success this season could alter his future decision, but for now he appears committed to the franchise.
Because the Celtics hold his Bird rights, Irving will be eligible to sign a five-year deal worth up to a projected $189.66MM with the club next summer. It’s not clear if Boston will put that five-year max offer on the table, but any lucrative new contract for Irving would create uncertainty about Terry Rozier‘s future with the organization — Rozier will be eligible for restricted free agency in 2019, and the C’s would be investing heavily in the point guard position already with long-term deals for Irving and Marcus Smart.
Over the offseason, there had been rumors that Irving was interested in teaming up with Jimmy Butler once both players hit the free agent market in 2019, but The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor indicates (via Twitter) that those reports were overblown. Alex Kennedy of HoopsHype suggests (via Twitter) that those whispers were coming out of Butler’s camp.
Boston, led by Irving, is expected to be a lead contender for the NBA title this season. Irving was traded to the team in 2017 after spending six seasons with the Cavaliers, winning a championship in 2016 alongside fellow All-Star LeBron James. In his first season with the C’s, Irving played in 60 games last season, averaging 24.4 points, 5.5 assists and 1.1 steals per contest