Kyrie Irving doesn’t appear to be headed anywhere next offseason according to … Kyrie Irving.
The Celtics point guard, speaking to fans gathered inside TD Garden on Thursday night, all but committed to remaining in Boston well after he hits free agency next summer.
“If you guys will have me back, I plan on re-signing here,” Irving said into a microphone.
The five-time All-Star’s future has been a trending topic entering the final year of his contract. Rumors persisted that several teams, including the nearby Knicks, were harboring hopes luring Irving via free agency.
Irving spoke with reporters at Friday’s practice and reiterated his commitment to re-sign with the Celtics when the summer of 2019 rolls around.
“I’m talking to our media people and we’re just like ‘I think you’re supposed to say something.’ I’m like, you know what, timing is everything with this. I’m glad I can share this with the Boston fans and everybody there,” Irving said. “I was just happy to get it done with. I just have every intent to sign back. I just wanted to clear that up.”
Irving said it became clear to him recently he wanted to re-sign with Boston and that he aspires to finish his career among the franchise’s greats.
Kyrie talks about his announcement … pic.twitter.com/7sAFQg4Zm7
— Chris Forsberg (@ChrisForsberg_) October 5, 2018
“I do have a dream of putting my No. 11 in the rafters one day if I’m so blessed to do that,” he said. “A lot of great players have come before me, but to throw my name in Boston Celtics tradition and history is something I’m glad I can do and plan on doing. I can sit up here and say I want to be one of those guys, but a lot of great players have come through in Celtics history. Quite a few stand out more than the rest. That’s a challenge in itself and I willingly accept … I’m looking forward to it.
Overall, Irving sounded glad to have the news made public so as to not interfere with the plans Boston has for the 2018-19 season.
“I thought it was the perfect time to let everyone know. Now I don’t have to answer any other questions like ‘what are you looking for [in free agency]?’ It was time. I’m glad I got past it, I can be with my teammates and we can move forward without a distraction.”
After arriving in Boston via trade from Cleveland a year ago, Irving averaged 24.4 points, 5.1 assists and 1.1 steals per game in 2017-18. The Celtics finished 55-27 and advanced to Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals despite the injury-related absences of Irving and Gordon Hayward. With LeBron James now playing in Los Angeles, Boston is considered one of the favorites to win the East in 2018-19.