Boston Celtics confident Irving 'marriage' will still go ahead

Danny Ainge: Celtics, Kyrie Irving Getting

However, that statement now feels like an eternity away, and with so much going on with Irving right now, we are no longer sure if he intends to keep his word. "And I think that that engagement is still on, as far as I know. We're still engaged, but we really can't make those vows, sign that contract, until July first".

The former No 1 overall pick can opt out of the final year of his contract this summer and test free agency.

Speaking to reporters on February 1, Irving said: "At the end of the day, I'm going to do what's best for my career, and that's just where it stands".

"Good", Ainge said Friday of where things stand with Irving. It wasn't because he traded Jabari Bird to the Atlanta Hawks to free up a roster spot, it was because the New Orleans Pelicans did not move Anthony Davis, which now puts Ainge in prime position to land the big man.

When asked if he'd changed his mind about the Celtics, Irving said, "Ask me July 1".

Even though no deal is now on the table, Davis staying put at the trade deadline means the Celtics are in the driver's seat to acquire the superstar big man this summer. But Ainge has maintained an open line of communication with Irving and has had several conversations with the 26-year-old since his recent noncommittal comments. Nonetheless, that Ainge still has confidence in Irving's willingness to sign a max contract with Boston bodes well for the Celtics; he's likely in contact with Irving almost as much as anyone who has a bead on what his future free agency plans are.

Due to an National Basketball Association rule, the Celtics are not allowed to trade for Davis until Irving becomes a free agent.

However, with the Celtics getting off to a rocky start in 2018-19, at one point falling to a.500 record at 10-10 and having only recently emerged from the bottom-four of current Eastern Conference playoff-contenders, there's now doubt that Irving would be as enthusiastic about re-signing with Boston as he was when everyone was looking at the Celtics as rivals to the Golden State Warriors dynasty. However, he remains confident the group can find consistency and play to its potential.

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