Kyrie Irving claims to be loving life in Boston. The former Cavaliers guard, who switched teams last year, will be a free agent at the end of the 2018-2019 season and there were major worries over his future.
But on Thursday night, sitting in the middle of Boston's home court during a team event, the player announced his intention to re-sign with the organization and remain part of what could be a dominant team for years to come.
Prior to his announcement, Irving had huddled some of his teammates at his house to open up about his decision.
"It was a very nice surprise,” Celtics center Al Horford told NBC Sports Boston. "Just his commitment to the organization, and a sense that we can put all the speculation behind us and focus on the season. That was very big of him to do something like that.”
Horford also admitted that he was curious as to what Kyrie was planning to do just like everybody else.
"I personally would never come up and try to talk to him about it. At the end of the day, it’s his decision and whatever he wants to do,” he added. "But, yeah, we heard the speculation and everything. That was definitely out there and you wonder what was going to happen. I think he understands what we’re building here and the potential that is here.”
In what was quite the gesture, Irving had started informing members of the Celtics organization of his plans to stay during the week. And he pulled coach Brad Stevens aside to apprise him after practice on Thursday afternoon. The player also told the team's managers and owners of his decision and would later inform Celtics' media relations personnel.
It was expected that he would drop the bombshell in a discussion with reporters ahead of the event at the TD Garden, but the star guard kept his cards close to his chest until he was in front of the fans.
“Timing is everything and I’m glad I could share it with the Boston fans, everybody there, I was just happy to get it done with for me,” he said during Friday practice. "I just have every intention of signing back. Me and Danny [Ainge] and management have not talked about any numbers, so please do not ask me about it.
"That goes for anybody — we don’t want any tampering or anything like that. July 1, whatever that day is, we’ll talk about contracts and stuff like that. [But] I have every intention of signing back with Boston.
"Honestly, thinking about starting over was just a shitty thought, honestly. Man, I do not want to move again. I do not want to uproot my family, just be dealing with anything new again. No disrespect to other organizations, but here is perfect for me.”