From all indications, Kyrie Irving loves his role on the Celtics.
Finally out from the shadow of LeBron James, Irving’s first season in Boston allowed him to develop as the leader he thought he could be. With 24.4 points per game and a career-best 49.1 field goal percentage helped power the Celtics to 55 wins, their most since Brad Stevens took over as the team’s head coach. Irving was the focal point of that success, too, w, and with noticeable on-court development as a more complete talent. And Irving, who missed all of the postseason due to season-ending knee surgery, remains thrilled for what awaits the Celtics next season with the return of a healthy Gordon Hayward.
But that doesn’t mean the C’s aren’t worried about Kyrie, with a player option in 2019, potentially bolting elsewhere next year.
“I think they’re scared,” Yahoo’s Chris Mannix said on his podcast with Chams Sharania and Michael Lee. “I think they’re scared and should be scared to some degree of Kyrie Irving walking in 2019. I know he had a great year, but you know there are people in Cleveland that will tell you that the Knicks should be considered a real threat for Kyrie Irving. Because Kyrie had talked about it, about playing with the Knicks with some players in that Cleveland locker room from what I was told.”
The Knicks, of course, were mentioned on Irving’s list of preferred trade destinations when the 26-year-old guard first grew tired of riding as LeBron’s sidekick and ultimately demanded a move out of Cleveland. (The Heat, Spurs, and Timberwolves were also on that list when it was first reported.)
It’s not all doom and gloom from Mannix, however, as he pointed out that Irving’s feelings on a move to New York may have changed after getting a taste of success on the Garden parquet.
“You know things can change,” Mannix offered. “Obviously, you go to Boston and you become the face of the franchise. You’re on a winning team. Maybe the mindset has changed significantly.”
And Charania, for what it’s worth, did his part to calm the masses, saying that Irving’s indication upon first arriving in Boston late last summer was that he would be with the Celtics for the “foreseeable future.”