Don’t lose hope, Knick fans. Kyrie Irving and the Celtics won’t be walking down the aisle until July 1.
That’s plenty of time for Irving to get cold feet, if he hasn’t already.
Danny Ainge, the Celtics president of basketball operations, pulled out the old marriage analogy while talking about Irving’s future in Boston during a spot on Boston’s 98.5 The Sports Hub.
“The way I viewed the situation is that I think a lot of people, because of Kyrie’s annoucement at the beginning of the year, thought that it was a marriage,” Ainge said. “And I think that it’s more like an engagement. And we’re going to get married on July 1.
“I think that engagement is still on, as far as I know.”
Kyrie wouldn’t be the first person to toss the ring back.
The five-time All-Star recently said he got a little carried away when he told fans last summer at a Celtics season-ticket holder event, “If you guys will have me, I plan on re-signing here.”
Before the Celtics extended the Knicks’ Garden misery on Feb. 1 — a 113-99 loss to Boston set a franchise record for consecutive home losses — Irving said “excitement” got the best of him that day.
He then walked back that commitment when he told reporters at Madison Square Garden, “I don’t owe anybody s–t.”
“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–t,” Irving said. “So for me I think that the confidence that I have in myself and my abilities, I want to be able to control what I want to control.”
With LeBron James gone to the Western Conference, most experts pegged the Kyrie-led Celtics as the sexy pick to rule the East. But the Celtics got off to a rough start – with Irving being quick to publicly pick on his young teammates – and currently sit fourth in the standings, six games behind the Bucks heading into Friday night’s action. And the Celtics watched as the Bucks, 76ers and Raptors all got better at Thursday’s trade deadline.
It’s no secret that the Knicks would love to bring Irving back home. The first overall pick in the 2011 NBA draft grew up in New Jersey.
The Knicks are gambling that the July 1 Irving-Celtics wedding never happens. The deal to send Kristaps Porzingis to the Mavericks was executed so the Knicks would have room to add two max contracts this summer.
Irving – who can opt out of the final year of his Celtics contract – is at the top of the wish list along with Kevin Durant and Anthony Davis.
“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.”