"When all that stuff at that time comes, we'll see what happens".
Traded to Boston from Cleveland late last summer, Irving seamlessly fit into the Celtics' plans this past season, with the best shooting percentage of his career to date, as well as a team-leading 24.4 points per game. The expectations are high because he was the third pick in the 2016 NBA Draft, he improved a lot and the Celtics' expectations are a lot higher after reaching the 2018 Eastern Conference Finals. That's the only thing I'm really anxious about.
"The focus is exclusively on winning a championship next year".
Irving forced a trade from the Cavaliers to the Celtics in August. Boston undoubtedly is mindful of Irving's impending payday, and if he plays at an elite level next season, the organization likely will be happy to open up its checkbook. It obviously wasn't going to feel the same, but I was just so proud of our guys and what they did.
On whether playing what is essentially a one-year contract could have an adverse impact on the Celtic process, Irving said, "The focus is exclusively on winning a championship next year". Despite winning an National Basketball Association title in 2016, Irving had grown tired of the enormous shadow cast over him by James and the Cavs, and demanded a trade last summer. I'd been talking about how great [the younger players] were.
"That's the type of attitude and effort you love to be a part of", he said. Some of their numbers probably didn't look as appealing to the outside-looker, but they were just - they were always locked in.
In order for the money to match up, Ainge would need to send Irving, Hayward or Al Horford to Cleveland in addition to a batch of expiring contracts, such as Marcus Morris or Terry Rozier, and a pick from their still-burgeoning stash of first-rounders over the next few years.
"If you're faced with losing him for nothing, they should take Gordon Hayward". "Our young guys [have experience] that sometimes other young guys in the league aren't necessarily afforded". "We all have come from being the best player, or one of them, at a certain time and place, and we want to showcase that".
Irving was finally out of LeBron's shadow.