Boston Celtics

Boston Celtics superstar Kyrie Irving is locked in for at least one more season in Boston.

But with the ability to opt out of his contract next summer, Irving’s future plans are pretty much completely unknown. Irving could, of course, elect to stay with the Celtics on a massive extension. That’s probably his best play, too, if winning is as important to him as he claims, and if the only reason he hasn’t signed an extension yet is because of money alone.

Or the 26-year-old Irving could potentially leave the C’s to team up with Jimmy Butler and start their own chapter somewhere new. This is where the Knicks, who will most definitely court Irving next summer, come into the picture. In fact, you could make the case that the Knicks have been the most annoying outside presence in all of this, as their name has routinely come up in anything involving Irving and his potential move away from the Celtics next summer.

But the Celtics are apparently confident in their ability to re-sign Irving after this season, as touched upon in a story by ESPN’s Zach Lowe that touched on everything from LeBron James to Kawhi Leonard trade talks.

“Boston hasn’t included Jaylen Brown (in trade discussions with the Spurs), sources say,” Lowe wrote on ESPN. “As I wrote here, it might make more sense to offer Kyrie Irving or Gordon Hayward before Brown, but I don’t see either happening. Boston is confident it can re-sign Irving despite chatter — credible chatter — that Irving and Jimmy Butler would like to play together, per league sources. They’ve earned such confidence.”

It’s easy for the C’s to feel this way given their current path, which will make them the undeniable favorites in the East after LeBron’s move to L.A., and with the young core and future draft picks in place to contend for at least the next five years.

The on-court element of it all is perhaps Boston’s greatest confidence-booster for Irving, too, as detailed by Brad Stevens in an interview with The Athletic last month.

“We’re going to coach. The guys are going to play. And when that time comes for any of our guys then they have the right to make their own decision,” Stevens told Jay King. “And ultimately, hopefully, they recognize how good of a thing we’ve got going in Boston.”

Irving, meanwhile, is expected to be ready to go for the 2018-19 season after undergoing season-ending knee surgery in April.