Few players have been in the news in the 2019 NBA season more than Kyrie Irving. In addition to being the star of a Boston Celtics’ team that has failed to reach expectations, the point guard has created headlines because of his impending free agency and his relationship with LeBron James.

It was only a few months ago that Irving told season-ticket holders that he wanted to re-sign with the Celtics as a free agent this summer. After an up-and-down first half of the season, Irving has backtracked on those comments, indicating that he won’t make any decisions on his future until after the playoffs.

When the New York Knicks traded Kristaps Porzingis last month, it fueled rumors that Irving and Kevin Durant might both head to the Big Apple in July. The Celtics’ star has made it clear that he’s not a fan of all the speculation regarding what he might do when his contract is up.

“The talks follow the great players in the league, and I'm appreciative and grateful to be one of those great players in our league now,” Irving said in an interview with ESPN’s Rachel Nichols. “I’ve worked my way to get here, and honestly all that goes with the free agent talk is really a distraction. A lot of people don’t realize on the outside that a lot of things that are said get into locker rooms. A lot of things that are put in headlines get into locker rooms. Media has broken up locker rooms. It’s been done before.

“You say something and it’s misinterpreted and instead of addressing it with the person or individual, like human interaction, you read it on your phone.”

There has also been talk about Irving potentially leaving Boston for the Los Angeles Lakers. Irving told reporters after a game last month that he spoke with LeBron James about the struggles of being a team leader, indicating that their once-fractured relationship has been repaired.

L.A. is set to have space for another max contract this summer. The Lakers are trying to trade for Anthony Davis, who is one of Irving’s best friends in the league.

“I think it takes a very, very strong individual to replay a lot of the experiences that you had, a lot of anger that you had built up where you didn't address the situation and you allowed it to fester and it was just combustion,” Irving told Nichols when asked about speaking with James. “It came out and then you realize: I didn't have to deal with that the same way.

“Mind you I have no regrets with any decision I've made about my individual journey and what I want and see for my career. And yeah, apologizing was just a step for me to move forward in my life.”

The Celtics took James and the Cleveland Cavaliers to Game 7 of the 2018 Eastern Conference Finals as Irving and Gordon Hayward nursed season-ending injuries. Jayson Tatum, Terry Rozier and Jaylen Brown stepped up to fill the void left by the two All-Stars.

With Irving and Hayward back on the court in prominent roles, Boston’s younger players have struggled.

Boston began the season as the favorite in the East to reach the 2019 NBA Finals. They are the conference’s No.4 seed at the All-Star break.

Kyrie Irving Boston Celtics Kyrie Irving #11 of the Boston Celtics celebrates after Jayson Tatum scored against the Phoenix Suns at TD Garden on December 19, 2018 in Boston, Massachusetts. Photo: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images