Kyrie Irving has a message for the Celtics, Knicks and any other team that might pursue him in free agency:
"Ask me July 1," he said.
Irving, speaking to reporters ahead of Friday's Knicks-Celtics game at Madison Square Garden, addressed his impending free agency, a trending topic that followed after Thursday's blockbuster Kristaps Porzingis trade cleared enough cap space for the Knicks to sign two free agents to max contracts this summer.
In October, Irving said he planned to re-sign a long-term deal with the Celtics, saying he wanted his No. 11 hanging in the rafters and to "throw my name in Boston Celtics tradition and history." But his tone changed Friday.
"At the end of the day," Irving said, "I'm going to do what's best for my career. ... I don't owe anybody s---."
He added: "What excited me a lot about the beginning of the season was the opportunity to come into this season really just doing what we planned on doing, set a goal and go after it and then see what happens at the end of the season. That was the plan before, and that's still the plan now."
A New Jersey native, Irving said he strongly considered signing with the Knicks before telling the Celtics his initial intention to stay in Boston.
"Obviously New York held a special place for me," Irving said in October. "Just being from (New) Jersey and obviously envisioning myself as a free agent ... That was a big thing before I made my decision just to ... plan on re-signing back with Boston. But yeah of course New York was a strong consideration."
Though there is belief that Irving might not be as committed to the Celtics as he previously stated, he has not informed them that his feelings have changed, according to ESPN's Brian Windhorst.
But speculation surrounding Irving has grown significantly over the past day given the Knicks now have at least $74 million in cap space this summer after Thursday's trade.
"He said, she said, that's so fifth grade and elementary," Irving said. "This industry is just so F'd up. It's my decision at the end of the day."
Though Irving had previously spoken about playing for David Fizdale and alongside Kristaps Porzingis, he said he believes the Knicks traded Porzingis, Tim Hardaway Jr., Courtney Lee and Trey Burke to the Mavericks in an effort to prepare for 2019 free agency, when Irving, Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard and Klay Thompson will be among the top free agents.
"I respect the Knicks organization," Irving said. "Obviously they're making moves to position themselves for this upcoming summer. I wish them the best."
Should Irving decline his $21.3 million player option and become an unrestricted free agent, he would be eligible for a five-year, $190 million extension with the Celtics or a four-year, $139 million contract with another team.
"At the end of the day," Irving said, "I spent the last eight years trying to do what everybody else wanted me to do in terms of making my decisions and trying to validate through the media, through other personnel, managers, anybody in this business."
Though Irving announced his intentions to re-sign with the Celtics prior to the season, that was also before he expressed some frustration with the Celtics.
The former No. 1 pick has averaged 23.7 points, 6.9 assists and 4.8 rebounds in 43 games with Boston so far this season, however the Celtics, considered favorites in the Eastern Conference a year after making the conference finals without him and Gordon Hayward, are just 32-19 so far, tied for the fourth-best record in the East.
Friday's game is the last time the Celtics face the Knicks at Madison Square Garden this season.
And five months from today, it'll be July 1.
"I don't want to answer all these questions about my future all the time," Irving said.