Disgruntled Minnesota two-way star Jimmy Butler has seemingly set his preferred future destinations up as the first step towards a superteam headlined by he and Kyrie Irving dominating the Eastern Conference.
But based on what Irving told ESPN’s Jackie MacMullan, that step seems to be a one-person plan.
In a tremendous interview with MacMullan, Irving said that he’s aware of the rumors that have suggested that the duo will link up elsewhere when they hit the free agent market in 2019. But according to Irving, he hasn’t talked to Butler ‘at length’ since the two played together for USA Basketball. According to Irving, that was a mere ‘spitballing’ session with fellow star free-agents-to-be Kevin Durant and DeMarcus Cousins, and that was all the way back in 2016.
And while the financials of a long-term future in Boston are not available to the 26-year-old Irving at the moment, he did provide a seemingly hopeful outlook when it comes to settling with the Celtics beyond just this upcoming season.
“Who wouldn’t be a part of [the Celtics]?” 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.”
Noting the money an extension signed right now would leave on the table, Irving said that he’s prepared for the storylines and distractions, but noted that it will not negatively impact his game when it impacts his own teammates.
“It only affects me when it affects my teammates,” Irving, who led the Celtics in both points (24.4) and assists (5.1) per game last season, said. “I keep them abreast of everything. We need to be communicating like that, because there are very few years where you get a chance to be a championship team — unless you are Golden State.”
The Celtics made it to Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals in Irving’s first year in Boston, but made that playoff trek without Irving on the court for a single minute, as a late-season knee injury put an end to his first season in Boston.