Kyrie Irving on Future with Celtics: 'I Don't Owe Anybody S--t'

Kyle Newport@@KyleNewportFeatured ColumnistFebruary 1, 2019

BOSTON, MA - JANUARY 26:  Kyrie Irving #11 of the Boston Celtics reacts after being fouled as he made a basket during a game against the Golden State Warriors and at TD Garden on January 26, 2019 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

Kyrie Irving is doing little to quiet the noise surrounding his future.

With his contract set to expire at the end of this season, Irving was asked recently if he still intends to re-sign with the Boston Celtics in free agency.  

"Ask me July 1," Irving said, per ESPN.com's Ian Begley, referring to the first day when free agents can sign a contract.

But he didn't stop there.

"At the end of the day I'm going to do what’s best for me and my career," Irving added, per Barbara Barker of Newsday. "I don't owe anybody s--t."

Those comments represent quite the change in tone for the impending free agent. It was just a few months ago when he told fans at TD Garden that he was planning on re-signing with the team "if you guys will have me back":

Of course, he is free to change his mind until he signs on the dotted line somewhere.

At that time, Boston was coming off a season in which had come within one game of the NBA Finals despite both Irving (knee) and Gordon Hayward (leg) sidelined. With LeBron James moving on to the Los Angeles Lakers last offseason, it appeared as though the Celtics would be the team to beat in the Eastern Conference with a healthy Irving and Hayward.

But this season has not gone as smoothly as Irving and Co. had hoped.

The Celtics are tied for fourth place in the East at 32-19. The team endured enough rough patches early on that, per ESPN.com's Tim Bontemps, it held a meeting in December to clear the air. That apparently didn't resolve all of the team's issues, as Irving would go on to call out his teammates last month.

Irving later apologizes for publicly calling out his teammates, and he also admitted that he hit James up to apologize for his behavior when they were teammates in Cleveland:

That fueled speculation that Irving would consider reuniting with James in free agency this summer, as Bleacher Report's Ric Bucher reported earlier this week that the point guard's interest in that scenario is "for real."

And James only added to those rumors with a recent social media post:

Los Angeles is not the only potential landing spot for Irving, though, if he chooses to leave Boston.

Irving, who grew up in New Jersey, has been linked to the New York Knicks for years. When Irving requested a trade from the Cavs, Chris Haynes (then of ESPN.com) reported the Knicks were on the star's list of preferred destinations.

With the Celtics preparing to face the Knicks at Madison Square Garden on Friday night, Irving offered his thoughts on Thursday's Kristaps Porzingis trade. 

"I respect the Knicks organization," Irving said, per Barker. "Obviously, they are making moves to position themselves for this upcoming summer. So I wish them the best."

If Irving does wind up leaving Boston, it wouldn't be the first time he had a change of heart, as Sports Illustrated points out:

For now, the Celtics must wait until July 1 (or later) to find out what the future holds.

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