Kyrie Irving Tells Boston Crowd He Plans to Sign New Contract with Celtics

Alec Nathan@@AlecBNathanFeatured ColumnistOctober 4, 2018

CHAPEL HILL, NC - SEPTEMBER 28: Kyrie Irving #11 of the Boston Celtics reacts after missing a three-point shot as time expired in the first quarter of their preseason game against the Charlotte Hornets at Dean Smith Center on September 28, 2018 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. 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. The Hornets won 104-97. (Photo by Lance King/Getty Images)
Lance King/Getty Images

Boston Celtics point guard Kyrie Irving pre-emptively squashed the drama that was sure to accompany his impending free agency. 

According to Turner Sports' Kristen Ledlow, Irving told fans in attendance during Thursday night's tip-off event at TD Garden that he plans to be in Boston for the long haul. 

"I'm planning on re-signing here next year," he said. 

Citing sources, The Athletic's Shams Charania reported Irving "has also communicated with Boston ownership over past several weeks and verbally committed plans to stay long-term."

Irving could have re-signed with the Celtics over the summer, but as ESPN.com's Jackie MacMullan noted, he would have sacrificed roughly $80 million. 

Still, it had become increasingly clear over the past few weeks that the five-time All-Star had warmed to the idea of a future with the Celtics. 

"Who wouldn't be a part of this?" Irving told MacMullan. "Who wouldn't want to be a part of Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum and Al Horford and Gordon Hayward? People keep saying, 'Why won't he commit to Boston?'

"Well, there are financial implications involved."

Irving also told ESPN's Rachel Nichols the Celtics, as comprised, have "hands down the most talent I've played with." 

Assuming negotiations proceed as planned between Irving and the Celtics next summer, one of the biggest free agents will be off the board as clubs such as the New York Knicks and Brooklyn Nets—both of whom were rumored to be interested in pursuing the floor general—seek to make personnel overhauls and accelerate their rebuilds. 

Now, those clubs may have to turn their attention to other impending free-agent point guards, such as Kemba Walker, Goran Dragic (if he declines his player option) and Ricky Rubio. 

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