Kyrie Irving excited about Hayward's return, still noncommittal on future in Boston


Kyrie Irving has a one-track mind.

Kyrie Irving can give you 86 million reasons he should not sign an extension with the Boston Celtics this summer.

"The focus is exclusively on winning a championship next year", Irving said.

The good takeaway from that reply is that Irving has his sights set on competing for a title with the Celtics next year.

That was the case when the Celtics point guard gave an ambiguous response to New York Times reporter Sopan Debb when asked about his future with Boston. The 26-year-old is recovering from two knee surgeries and a nasal procedure that repaired a deviated septum. "You saw guys that literally are going to be stars in this league for years to come". "For me, it's my job to just stay present".

That came shortly after Celtics play-by-play man Mike Gorman said he wasn't sure if Irving would be a member of the Celtics in the coming seasons. When the team is at full strength, he said no opponent will be able to push them harder than they push themselves. Irving can opt out of his current deal next offseason, and from the sound of it, he hasn't given much thought to his future with the Celtics.

The most he could get with a four-year extension signed this summer would be $128 million, while he could bank about $208 million with a new contract next summer.

Although he was disappointed he wasn't able to contribute during the playoffs, Irving said the team playing well without him was "only beneficial". Throw in a healthy Hayward to a rotation with Kevin Love, who averaged 17.6 points and 9.3 rebounds this season while shooting 41.5 percent from three-point range, and you have yourself a solid core that can challenge for 50 wins in the Eastern Conference.

Celtics fans have seen the best and worst moments of James' career up close in personal. "That's my hope. But obviously I can't really control that". "You try to focus on what's important and what we need going into next year, being aware of who we have now and what we're capable of, and things we need to fix or get done and go from there".

That's the group Irving will lead next year, and it's the group he could lead for the foreseeable future, if he decides to remain in Boston.

"Contractually, financially, it just doesn't make any sense", Irving said about an extension, adding that the conversation will happen eventually, just not right now.