Kyrie Irving continues to march to the beat of his own drum.
The Boston Celtics are the best team in the Eastern Conference right now. Not only that, but they have the best coach in the Easter Conference as well. And quite possibly, the best coach in the NBA right now — currently. Settle down, Boston fans — we’re not saying Brad Stevens is the greatest coach of all time. We know some of you might be saying that, but we’re toning it down a notch. That said, nobody can feasibly argue against the Celtics as the best team out East. Plus with the continued development of Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum, they’re only going to get better.
Which brings us back to Irving. Kyrie got his wish last summer — to be on a team without LeBron James. And in his first season he would do just fine, averaging 24.4 points on 49.1% shooting (40.8% from long range) while racking up 5.1 assists and 1.1 steals per contest. Meanwhile, without star free-agent signing Gordon Hayward for virtually the entire season, the Celtics flourished — finishing with a 55-27 regular season record. That put them second out East behind the Toronto Raptors. But before the postseason began, Irving would be shut down indefinitely due to his knee issues. The same knee issues that would limit him to just 60 games this past season.
And that’s what Irving is focusing on this coming season: health. Certainly not a contract extension, per ESPN’s Chris Forsberg.
“Contractually, financially, [an extension] just doesn’t make any sense. … My hope is that maybe we could limit it to maybe one question a day about what I’m doing next year,” Irving added with a smile. “That’s my hope. But obviously I can’t really control that.”
Next year is all about redemption.
“I think you guys can feel my attitude is really just redemption next year. … The focus is solely on winning a championship next year.”
The Celtics certainly have the core to win a championship. They are absolutely the most talented team out East and it’s not particularly close right now. A healthy Irving AND Gordon Hayward goes a long way towards realizing that championship dream. But the most dangerous thing about these Celtics? They’re not set up for just the next season or two. If Danny Ainge plays his cards right — and he’s been phenomenal so far — we could be witnessing a dynasty in the making.