Celtics guard Kyrie Irving says his focus is on winning title, not his future

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Prior to the start of the regular season, Kyrie Irving said that he planned on re-signing with the Boston Celtics this summer if the franchise wanted to retain him.

On Friday, he was asked if that commitment has wavered.

"At the end of the day, I'm going to do what's best for my career, and that's just where it stands. That's just where it stands," Irving said on Friday morning ahead of the Celtics' game against the New York Knicks. "And my focus this season is winning a championship with the Boston Celtics. Obviously, we had goals coming into the season, and the primary goal is to win a championship. So that's where my focus is."

Irving was also asked if his mindset regarding his decision to re-sign with the Celtics had shifted.

"Ask me July 1," he said.

Irving can opt out of the final year of his contract and test free agency this summer.

In October, he essentially committed to staying with the Celtics long term in front of thousands of fans at a team event. He said Friday that the Celtics still remain "at the head of the race" regarding free agency, though he didn't offer an ironclad commitment to Boston.

"I still have confidence in Boston and what they can promise for the future and what they have in terms of our pieces," Irving said. "That's what excited me a lot about the beginning of the season, was the opportunity to come into this season and 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. Obviously, Boston's still at the head of that race. So that's just where it stands."

Irving's comments weren't as firm as what he'd said about staying with the Celtics prior to the season. He was asked Friday if something had changed between his initial statement and Friday.

"I don't know, just do the best for me. That's what it comes down to," Irving said. "... Obviously, things this season haven't gone as I planned. That's part of being on a team where you're still trying to figure things out. I'm always going to be mature about that, professional, come and do my job every single day and see what happens. That's what it comes down to."


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The Celtics are 32-19 and tied for fourth place in the Eastern Conference standings entering Friday's games. Irving has expressed frustration with Boston's inconsistent play at different points throughout the season, but he remains confident the group can find consistency and play to its potential.

"I think it was just the excitement," Irving said about why he felt motivated to commit to the Celtics so publicly prior to the season. "Feeling emotionally invested, coming off an injury last season, trying to prove something, trying to be very much of a team-oriented player, which I am naturally.

"But at the end of the day, like I said, I've 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, and I don't owe anybody s---."

Irving would have many suitors, including the New York Knicks, if he chose to leave Boston via free agency this summer. The Knicks traded Kristaps Porzingis to the Dallas Mavericks on Thursday.

"I respect the Knicks organization," Irving said. "Obviously they are making moves to position themselves for this upcoming summer. So I wish them the best."

Irving also expressed frustration over the media coverage of his free agency and rumors surrounding NBA free agency and trades in general.

"Obviously this has become an entertainment thing for everyone," Irving said. "Somebody else is asking for a trade, and I'm thrown into that. Uncertainty comes back on me. I don't live in a certain hub. Some people call me about this dumb s---. Of course my name is... thrown into this. I'm not worried about a reputation, not worried about a legacy in the league. I'm just trying to be a human being, trying to make the best decision for my family."

He said the speculation surrounding players' free agencies has impacted relationships among teammates.

"This is a new position for me to be in, answering all these questions -- all this stuff that I'm trying to avoid -- and it's just a distraction," Irving said. "It's crazy how things and storylines can seep into a locker room. You guys are part of the destruction of locker rooms, and that's just what it is. This is an entertainment industry; I don't live for this entertainment. I don't live for all this, talking to everybody every single day about my life and my decisions. I would just hope that everybody would respect that.

"That's really basically it. I'm a normal human being at the end of the day. I don't want to answer all these questions about my future all of the time. It's unfair to me because I have a focus to really help these guys grow as individuals and really help this team be successful."