This isn't the first time Mannix has expressed doubt about James joining the Celtics, as he also recently said that Boston should steer clear of the 33-year-old superstar because signing him would require the C's to revamp their roster. It's felt like a number of seasons in one. The expectations are high because he was the third pick in the 2016 NBA Draft, he improved a lot and the Celtics' expectations are a lot higher after reaching the 2018 Eastern Conference Finals. Injuries have always been a big concern for Irving, as he only played in 11 games in college at Duke and has never played a full 82 game season in his National Basketball Association career. Those are the questions the Celtics hope to answer next season, when Irving returns to Boston's young and exciting roster.
"If you're faced with losing him for nothing, they should take Gordon Hayward".
After weeks of being "an outsider looking in", Irving said he's planning on dedicating this offseason to his craft and is taking everything one day at a time to ensure he will be ready for the start of training camp.
"It was going to be a process coming back", he said. Brown and Tatum are both future stars, and both Gordon Hayward and Horford have made All-Star teams in the past.
Irving could be the no-questions-asked leader of a championship-caliber team in a big market if he remains in Boston. When this year's team lost its offensive rhythm in the playoffs, they clearly missed Irving - one of the best iso players in the league, capable of creating for himself in essentially any situation. For the Celtics, that will be a hefty part of their sales pitch, and it's part of the reason recent rumors about the New York Knicks ring so hollow. "For me, it's my job to just stay present". The bad takeaway is he isn't talking about an extended future with the Celtics.
Irving is eligible for a four-year, $107 million extension, but that would be $80 million less than what Irving could earn if he waits until the summer of 2019 and re-signs with Boston after opting out of the final year of his current pact.
"For sure", Irving said. That's the only thing I'm really anxious about.
"Management and I will have a talk, but that talk won't happen now", he said.
"I'm just excited to see what that looks like, really getting that experience with G and seeing what other pieces we have going forward", Irving told BSJ's Brian Robb.