He is rumored to be the Knicks' top target in free agency next offseason, but PG Kyrie Irving seems to be loyal to the Celtics for now.
After Timberwolves G Jimmy Butler requested a trade, it was expected Irving's future in Boston was to be questioned, especially given rumors that he and Butler want to play together. New York was a preferred destination for Butler, and before getting traded to the Celtics, Irving had the Knicks on his list as well.
Being one of the best point guards in the NBA, Irving understands why these questions are coming up now with his option to test free agency after this season.
"It comes with the territory, which I understand, and also, the point I'm at in my career, it warrants that, naturally," Irving told NBC Sports Boston.
But does Irving want to test free agency? As of now, his loyalty is to Boston, who he knows won't just let him walk away.
"It's like, man, if you only knew how special this organization was, and how special these guys are in this locker room," he said. "...even if I had the inclination to test free agency, Boston's gonna be like, 'No, you're coming back.' And I'm fine with that."
Irving, who turns 27 next year, will have the entire season to think about what he wants to do. One detriment to Knicks fans that want to see him in blue and orange is Irving only played a few minutes with Gordon Hayward -- the Celtics' other big-name signee last offseason. As long as both players can stay on the court together, the Celtics are expected to be dangerous again out of the East.
Winning aside, Irving loves the team's chemistry and camaraderie in Boston's locker room.
"I think coming into this year, how comfortable I am, and being around the guys, it's a lot different than just coming in off a trade," Irving said. "... the focus is different, the feeling is different, the love is just the same... it's just a lot more elevated, which I'm appreciative of."