Despite a flurry of rumors about Kyrie Irving leaving him for another team in the offseason, Boston Celtics executive Danny Ainge still believes the All-Star guard and the franchise are in a long-term relationship that will go the distance.
Irving, who can sign a massive contract extension with the Celtics this summer if he so chooses, said in the fall that his intention was to stay in Boston.
But, last week, he walked back those comments a tad when pressed about the matter.
“At the end of the day, I’m going to do what’s best for my career, and that’s just where it stands,” Irving said last week. “That’s just where it stands … Ask me July 1st.”
During the same conversation with reporters, Irving did say the Celtics were “at the head of the race” of teams trying to sign him.
Despite Irving’s comments, Ainge apparently feels the Celtics haven’t lost that top spot.
“The way I viewed the situation is that I think a lot of people, because of Kyrie’s announcement at the beginning of the year, thought that it was a marriage,” Ainge said on Boston sports radio station 98.5 The Sports Hub. “And I think that it’s more like an engagement. And we’re going to get married on July 1st. I think that engagement is still on, as far as I know. In my individual conversations with Kyrie, we’re still engaged but we really can’t make those vows, sign that contract until July 1st.”
Following a loss to the Lakers on national TV last night, the Celtics (35-20) are in fourth place in the Eastern Conference standings entering Friday’s games.