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Kyrie Irving: No extension, but excited about Celtics’ future

Kyrie Irving shuts down extension talk while confirming excitement for next season at media availability.

NBA: Playoffs-Cleveland Cavaliers at Boston Celtics Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

If you were holding your breath waiting for a Kyrie Irving extension to happen this summer, return to your regular breathing. Irving, recovering from his most recent knee surgery, spoke to the media this afternoon and shot down the idea of a possible extension this offseason.

A deal won’t happen this summer since an extension this summer would be negotiated against the $101-million cap vs. whatever it would increase to next summer. He’d make roughly $25-million per year over three seasons if he signed now. Next summer he can make $35-million annually over four years with another team, or $38-million in Boston. Including the final year of his deal, $20-million for 2018-19, that’s $128-million longterm vs. $208-million. Math supersedes all, but concerns regarding his commitment emerged following the Chris Mannix report.

Irving reaffirmed his excitement today to rejoin the team at Training Camp in September. In fact, he has a running countdown for when he can scrimmage with his teammates again. His excitement to get on the court should be a surprise to no one, considering how much of a competitor he is. However, his desire to get back on the court with this team is notable in light of all of the headlines that have popped up this past week.

While he didn’t explicitly state he wants to be with the Boston Celtics for the rest of his career, Irving did show off some of the excitement he feels in anticipation of hitting the court again, especially with Gordon Hayward.

A year after he left the Cleveland Cavaliers, in part to pave his own path apart from LeBron James, some far fetched rumors surfaced about the possibility of James in Boston. Retrospective fan fiction transformed into a possible reality: James drawing cheers playing in front of the Garden faithful. The same scene of, “Hey Kyrie where’s LeBron?” is playing out this summer, without the vulgarity. Packaged in professional questions rather than fan-fueled disdain.

After speaking on the level of hustle and effort that teammates like Terry Rozier and Marcus Smart displayed throughout the playoffs, Irving said, “That’s the type of attitude and effort that you would love to be a part of . . . and of course our anchor, Al [Horford]. And now getting my man, Gordon [Hayward] back.”

With the backdrop of Irving’s impending free agency mixed into the hot summer news stew, he would have been foolish if he thought Uncle Drew questions were dropping on the desk in front of him this afternoon.

“In this business, I’ve experienced a lot and seen it all,” he said to a question about reuniting with James. “We’ll see what management decides.”

Irving definitely did not deadpan the delivery. With plenty of excitement surrounding the fully healthy Celtics next year, Irving seems focused on that. You can take comfort in knowing that there appears to be plenty of communication between Irving and management ahead of his free agency next summer. “We have an open dialogue about the direction we’re going in.”

That “we,” straight from Irving’s mouth, is a good sign for Celtics fans. Until that time comes, he’ll be focused on his on-court progression and the potential of a leading the team to a championship a year from now. With his return alongside Gordon Hayward, “now we have championship pedigree.”

But things change. Especially with James noise blasting from every side.

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