Kyrie Irving on Future with Celtics: Focused on Present, Winning Championship

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistJune 9, 2018

BOSTON, MA - MARCH 11:  Kyrie Irving #11 of the Boston Celtics looks on during a game against the Indiana Pacers at TD Garden on March 11, 2018 in Boston, Massachusetts. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)
Adam Glanzman/Getty Images

Boston Celtics point guard Kyrie Irving sidestepped a question Friday about whether he views the team as his "long-term destination."   

Irving, who can decline a player option in his contract to become an unrestricted free agent after the 2018-19 season, spoke with Sopan Deb of the New York Times about a variety of topics, including his potential future in Boston.

"Well, I mean I know that question is going to come up a lot over the next year, just based on where my deal is," he said. "And, you know, that time will arise and when it does, I think I'll have a better, clear, concise answer for a lot of people that are going to ask.

"Yeah, I just have to take it as being present with the Boston Celtics. You know, and just going into this year with the mindset of trying to win a championship."

Irving averaged 24.4 points, 5.1 assists and 3.8 rebounds across 60 appearances during his first year with the Celtics after the Cleveland Cavaliers traded him there in August. His season came to a premature end in March because of a knee injury, which forced him to miss the team's playoff run.

He ranked ninth in the NBA this season in player efficiency rating (via ESPN.com). Assuming he returns to that level after completing his recovery, he should be a highly coveted free agent next summer.

Irving isn't prepared to look that far into the future quite yet. With that said, he'll struggle to find another team with a stronger foundation than Jayson Tatum, Gordon Hayward, Jaylen Brown and Al Horford along with the requisite salary-cap space if he does hit the open market.