Kyrie Irving took the suspense out of his free agency plans by announcing that he will remain with the Celtics, but he said Saturday that the Knicks would have been in the running if he had wanted to change teams, relays Peter Botte of The New York Post.
Irving made the remarks during Boston’s first trip of the season to Madison Square Garden, telling reporters that he feels a strong connection to the area after growing up in New Jersey.
“Just being from Jersey and envisioning myself as a free agent and ultimately taking a meeting and playing for [coach David Fizdale] and the great young core they have here, thinking about playing with [Kristaps Porzingis], that was a big thing before I made my decision to sign back — or, I don’t want to get in trouble, to plan on re-signing back — with Boston,” Irving said. “But yeah, of course, New York was a strong consideration.”
The Knicks plan to be in position to offer a max contract during next summer’s free agency, and there were hopes that Irving might be the target. The five-time All-Star would have given the organization its best point guard in years and would have been an exciting running mate to team with Porzingis.
Irving believes he landed in a perfect situation with the Celtics after requesting a trade from the Cavaliers last summer. He is the leader of a talented team that many are projecting to reach the NBA Finals and is surrounded by a mix of veterans and young stars.
“I think if you were in my position, I think it would be an easy decision at this point,” Irving said. “Thinking about who we have, and the future and what we’re set up for, for me, where I am in age and how I envision my career going, and kind of the lineage of guys who’ve come before me in the Boston Celtics, is something that I wanted to be a part of.”