"That's really the only thing I'm anxious about". This spring, the upstart Celtics, missing both Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward, had James right where they wanted him with leads of 2-0 and 3-2 in the Eastern Conference Finals.
Asked whether he'd be open to reuniting with James, Irving said, "In this business, I've experienced it all and I've seen a lot, so we'll see what management decides". "Just making sure I'm healthy enough for September, just trying not to push it too hard, [and] just taking my time with the rehab and feeling good".
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. Entering the playoffs, it seemed that Boston was destined for a early exit but the Celtics would win their first round series 4-3 over the Milwaukee Bucks and 4-1 over the Philadelphia 76ers in the semifinals.
"I think it's only natural to think about [if Irving was still here]".
Those were the two main takeaways from Irving's interview with Boston Sports Journal (subscription required).
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Well, according to Adam Kaufman, a beat reporter for the Boston Celtics, there's a slim chance Boston would consider trading their star free agent signing from 2017, but if they did, they better be ready to face the huge backlash. Really integrating myself with our team again and really focus on winning a championship. And then when they were afforded the opportunity to take the reins of the team, you saw them take full advantage of it.
"It was going to be a process coming back", he said. He raved about Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum, then noted how Marcus Smart gave up his body and "that's the type of attitude and effort you'd love to be part of". "I think that's the exciting part about all this is that when you're shaping up to gear up to be a championship-caliber team for years to come - which I think Danny (Ainge) has echoed for a little bit".
There's recently been some chatter about whether LeBron James could consider joining the Boston Celtics once he opts out of his contract with the Cleveland Cavaliers and becomes a free agent this offseason.
"I'm just excited to see what that looks like, really getting that experience with G and seeing what other pieces we have going forward", Irving told BSJ's Brian Robb.