Kyrie Irving

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Good Sign For Knicks? Kyrie Irving Backs Off Celtics Commitment

February 01, 2019 - 12:35 pm
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By WFAN.com

A day after the Knicks shipped Kristaps Porzingis to Dallas and created enough salary-cap space to sign two max-level free agents this summer, Celtics point guard Kyrie Irving backed off his verbal commitment to re-sign with Boston.

When questioned Friday by reporters about his future with the Celtics, Irving replied, "Ask me July 1.

"I’ve spent the last eight years trying to do what everybody else wanted me to do in terms 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---," he added, according to the Daily News' Stefan Bondy.

Irving said before the season that he planned to re-sign with Boston. While his tone has softened, he did say Friday that Boston remains at "the head of the race."

MORE: Schmeelk: What Happens This Summer Will Determine Whether Porzingis Trade Is A Winner For Knicks

His latest comments came at Madison Square Garden, where the Celtics face the Knicks on Friday night.

Irving is a New Jersey native who starred at St. Patrick High School in Elizabeth. When he demanded a trade out of Cleveland in 2017, Irving reportedly wanted to play for the Knicks "very badly."

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

He attributed his preseason comments about planning to stay in Boston to the "excitement" that accompanies a new year.

LISTEN: 'The Bank Shot' Knicks Podcast: Reaction To Kristaps Porzingis Trade

“Feeling emotionally invested, coming off an injury last season, trying to prove something," he said. "Trying to be very much of a team-oriented player, which I am naturally."

After dealing Porzingis, the Knicks have the available cap space to sign two of the top impending free agents. This year's class is highlighted by Irving, Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard, Jimmy Butler and Klay Thompson. 

Meanwhile, the Knicks, at 10-40, currently own the NBA's worst record and should be among the teams in the running to land Duke phenom Zion Williamson with the first pick in the draft.

Irving, the first overall selection in the 2011 draft, is a five-time All-Star who won an NBA title with the Cavaliers in 2016. He is averaging 23.7 points, 6.9 assists and 4.8 rebounds this season.